Although prices still remain in the doldrums, one or two signs are emerging that the worst may perhaps be behind us.
Unfortunately, the latest SPP went down by 2.31p to 140.55p whereas European prices have remained at similar levels for the time being with the German producer price stuck at 1.23 EUR, which in currency terms is little more than 104p/kg.
UK weekly contribution prices have in the main stayed at similar low levels between 130p and 138p, but with reports of high levels of absenteeism due to Covid in meat processing plants, some of the major players have had to once again cut back on pig throughputs – and with no immediate signs emerging of a return to normal slaughter levels, producers are still left with the problem of overweight pigs blocking up the system.
The spot market remains even colder than the weather with regular sellers who are supplying fresh meat abattoirs seeing their returns chopped away even more, with most regular spot sellers getting little more than 118p/kg but reports have been received as low as 112p/kg and for overweight pigs 60p – 70p/kg is all they seem to be worth assuming space can be found.
Cull sow prices have once again stood on with most export quotes between 24p – 26p/kg, not helped by a slightly easier Euro which has slipped in value from 83.8p to 83.5p.
Once again, no AHDB weaner averages have been published and for those producers fortunate enough to have secure contracts locked away in a safe place, RSPCA assured 7kg piglets have generally been in the £32.50 – £37/head range, but there is little if any space for one off loads of spot weaners which makes them impossible to shift other than at very low prices in many cases.
Signs of slightly easier cereal prices are however a small step in the right direction with UK feed wheat traded for February delivery down by £11/t in the past seven days with deals being agreed at £214/t and for September at £190/t.
Spot wheat ex farm trades have averaged £217.60/t over the past week. Feed barley values are also a tad easier easing from £214/t to £210/t for February with September 2022 down by £9/t to £176/t.
Proteins remain costly with February Hipro soya delivery quoted at £427/t and for June – October at £396/t.
Rapemeal values have fallen from £322/t to £321/t week on week.
And finally, reports are emerging that although most of the major pig production countries in the world are currently losing money and large numbers of herds are being liquidated, demand will catch up with supplies with much lower pig numbers in the US and China and pig meat values could bounce in an upward direction.
If this trend is coupled with a further easing in feed prices, by mid 2022 we could be looking at a different scenario for those who can stay the course.