More questions than answers seem to be the current position with the value of pigs becoming more volatile day by day as the effects of the Coronavirus spread their tentacles around the world.
The latest SPP has moved up a shade and is now quoted at 163.05p but the German price has already taken a tumble losing 6 cents yesterday to stand at 1.96 EUR with possibly more to come in the future. Markets dislike changes which can unsettle the whole industry.
Weekly contribution prices have (surprise surprise) remained in most cases at stand-on levels between 155p and 163p in the main.
Spot prices on the other hand have been reasonably firm, with some abattoirs short of pigs prepared to pay up to 170p but not for long.
Cull sow values have to some extent benefitted from recent sharp falls in the value of Sterling, with the Euro currently worth 88.61p compared with 87p a week ago and, although EU sow prices are edging lower, on this occasion the Euro came to our rescue with most culls trading between 123p -126p.
Demand for weaners continues to improve although space remains at a premium, with the latest AHDB 7kg average price up by 65p to £42.85 and an even larger rise for 30kg weaners, which have put on £3.96/head in value and are now worth £61.95p and a touch more for RSPCA Assured.
Feed ingredients have remained firm with the latest UK feed wheat futures prices quoted at £153/t for April and £163/t for September. Barley futures have remained at last week’s levels trading at £133/t for April and £137/t for September.
Ex-farm UK feed wheat values are relatively static at £145.50.
Protein prices continue to trade on a reasonably firm base with Hipro soya worth £312/t for April delivery and £304/t for November-April 2021.
And finally, a whole host of Coronavirus related challenges are facing the pig industry, with reports of potential labour shortages in UK abattoirs and processors, as well as many other negative consequences arising from this pandemic which is a new experience for most of us.
The advice to producers is not to let live pig stocks build up, because with Easter just around the corner, there could be a mini-glut of pigs on the market in the weeks ahead and rather like jockeys at Cheltenham they just need to keep on top of their livestock.