A meat trader many years ago remarked that with pigs you are either looking for them or at them. The latter seems to be the situation at present, with the retail demand easing despite the recent barbecue weather and at the same time, more pigs seem to be coming forward on a falling trade.
Although the latest SPP has slipped by another 50p and now stands at 164.68p at least EU prices appear to be holding on and previous levels with the influential German producer price standing on for the fifth week running at €1.47, which is equivalent to 132p in our money but still over 30p lower than UK producer prices.
When the gap between EU and UK pig meat prices widens beyond a 20p differential this is normally time to take cover as much cheaper imports undercut the domestic market and a case of “mind the gap”.
Weekly contribution prices remain under pressure, and although some of the warmer hearted buyers stood on, some of the others could not resist knocking off another penny or so (you know who you are) and prices are now in a very wide range between 150p and 158p.
Spot prices however, remain a real “no go” area with non-farm assured pigs reported to be trading at little more than 150p but Red Tractor supplies for more regular customers would be worth around 5p a pig/kg more than this.
Cull sow prices are reflecting the stand-on nature of German pig meat values and all the signs are that there is still a way to go before the backlog of sows throughout Europe have been accounted for but until then it looks as though UK producers can expect little more than prices in the 45-48p range.
The value of the Euro is also travelling in the wrong direction, trading at 90.17p today compared with 90.35p 7 days earlier.
Weaner prices saw a fairly sharp drop in the latest AHDB 30kg ex farm average which fell by £2.87 to £56.56 although 7kg weaner price was somewhat more robust and has maintained their value at £42.40.
With harvest probably more than 50% completed on the eastern side of the country, some finishers may be looking to fill empty yards fairly soon providing straw and feed prices do not get carried away.
On the feed front, ingredient prices are holding at similar levels on the week with UK feed wheat quoted on the futures market at £167/t for September and barley at £135 for the same month.
Spot values for new crop feed wheat on an ex-farm basis have been in and around £153-£156/t.
Protein values have eased a touch with Hipro soya quoted at £300/t for September-October and £291/t for May-October next year.
And finally, feral pigs rather like feral children are continuing to cause problems with reports from down under that losses of around $71m per annum are being caused by our furry friends but are just the tip of the iceberg as potential carriers of exotic and endemic diseases such as African Swine Fever.
Similar attention should be given to wild pigs in the Forest of Dean and elsewhere in the UK because unlike the domestic variety, it is almost impossible to effectively control wild pigs, especially when “stay at home” holiday makers decide to give them the contents of their lunch bags which may well include tainted pig meat.
Many Eastern European countries have already suffered from feral pigs spreading swine fever and woe betide us if they learn to swim and head in this direction!