It’s Now or Never

Another exceptionally challenging week for the pig industry and although the SPP continues its upward track rising by 3.18p to 164.92p – unfortunately COP levels are also continuing to soar with the latest Red Tractor total production cost hitting £2.21/kg deadweight.

EU prices seem to have remained on a plateau but are still too close to the edge of the cliff for comfort with the latest German producer price locked in at 195 EUR, which is equivalent to 164p in real money.

UK weekly contribution prices seem to be sharing the same plateau as EU values with very little change and the major players are quoting between 168p at the bottom end and 190p at the top.

Spot bacon pig prices have improved a touch over the last few weeks, but they are still streets behind the SPP, although regular sellers have in some cases been able to achieve prices between 140p – 150p/kg with one off loads of spot bacon pigs being traded as low as 130p/kg.

Cull sow values seem to be stuck in the same lay-by as finishers despite a slightly firmer Euro which traded on Friday worth 84.2p but not enough to encourage UK cull sow exporters to increase their prices, which were generally between 74p – 78p/kg and hopefully the rock bottom prices which we saw earlier in the year as low as 25p/kg will not be repeated at a time when cull sow numbers are building up as more producers are forced to leave the industry.

Publication of the long awaited AHDB weaner prices has cast a little sunshine on an otherwise gloomy outlook with the overall 7kg average now quoted at £39.31/head which is still below COP levels, but the gap is narrowing to some extent.

However, the soaring cost of feed continues to dominate the headlines as well as decision making by finishers over to what extent they want to get involved in producing bacon pigs during the summer and autumn if feed prices remain at their current unviable levels or even dearer.

To underline this, the latest weekly UK spot feed wheat ex farm average has now risen to £319.20/t compared with £308.10/t seven days ago. Cereal futures prices are also displaying bullish tendencies with May delivery feed wheat traded at £330/t and longer months saw September at £304/t. Feed barley continues to follow this upward trend with May quoted at £314/t and September at £292/t.

Protein values also continue to paint a bleak picture with Hipro soya traded for May delivery at £485/t and for November – April 2023 at £475/t.

Rapemeal values are inflicting more pain on the rations front with May – July at £399/t and August – October at £336/t.

And finally, to add to all the pressures being faced by the UK pig industry, our Government in their wisdom have decided to scrap plans to introduce import checks on meat products coming into the UK until the end of next year at the earliest raising the risk of diseases such African Swine Fever as well as cheap low welfare pig meat crossing the Channel. Thank you Boris!

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About The Author

Based in Suffolk, Peter Crichton provides a wide range of valuation, auction and livestock marketing services, as well as supplying the UK pig industry with a wide range of consultancy services covering tenancy, contract advice, pig equipment and herd valuations as well as dispute resolution. For more information visit: