Unfortunately, pig weights keep on rising and the SPP is still falling, losing another 0.45p this week to stand at 140.10p and it is worrying news that the average SPP deadweight pig had hit yet another new record level at 95.1kg.
European prices have in the main stood on, albeit at very low levels which continue to undercut UK values by a country mile. UK weekly contribution prices are between stand on and 1p off but are still within a fairly wide band from 130p to 138p/kg.
The spot market is like a minefield and although quotes for regular sellers have been in the 112p – 118p/kg bracket, one off loads of heavy spot pigs have in some cases been traded as low as 60p/kg but with very little room in the system with cold stores filling up.
Cull sow prices remain anchored at rock bottom levels with most traded between 24p – 26p/kg with no help from the Euro which remains weaker than the Pound trading at 83.5p today and doing nothing to help either imports or exports between the UK and the EU.
For the first time this year, AHDB have published 7kg ex farm weaner prices which averaged £32.86/head, but 30kg weaners remain hard to sell and the same applies to store pigs of all weights being offered on a spot basis with very few takers.
The only crumbs of comfort which have fallen onto producers’ empty plates have been the slight easing in some but not all feed ingredient prices, with the ex farm UK spot feed wheat £4/t easier at £213.60/t.
Grain futures prices have also eased a tad with feed wheat quoted for February delivery at £215/t, which is £3/t down on the week, and longer months saw September 2022 deals agreed at £192/t.
Barley prices have also got marginally easier with February at £210/t and September 2022 at £180/t.
Protein prices remain volatile, and it only needs someone to sneeze in the Southern Hemisphere for prices to go shooting up again; with Hipro soya for February quoted at £427/t and for June – October this year at £398/t.
Rapemeal is back by £6/t and worth £317/t for February – April with a much more encouraging August – October 2022 price of £244/t.
And finally, more and more UK pig producers are finding themselves between a rock and a very hard place as far as the disposal of overweight pigs is concerned.
According to veterinary sources, an estimated 150,000 overweight pigs are reported to still be on farms rather than being slaughtered long ago and put into the food chain.
This comes at a time when UK pig meat production is at its highest level for over twenty years while weights continue to climb and bank balances are emptied to provide pigs with something to eat while decisions are made about their future.
There are hopes that a reduction in the size of the German pig herd, which has hit a twenty five year low, might soon start to filter through and put up the price of cheap imports which are continuing to blitz the country with the added risk of African Swine Fever, which has now been detected in Hungary and Latvia.
Unfortunately, there are still far more questions and very few answers and a stressful time for producers, their families and staff and it may well be a case of survival of the fittest, unless things improve.