Despite the latest SPP moving up by a useful 1.39p to 158.96p, the outlook across much of the EU remains relatively dull. German pig prices have remained at stand on levels equivalent to €1.48, which translates to around 130p and, on this side of the water, demand is described as flat at a time of year when prices should be moving ahead.
UK weekly contribution prices have remained at similar levels with a fairly grotty 146p at the lower end and a more generous 163p at the top.
Spot bacon demand remains fickle with more sellers than buyers and as a result one off loads of non-farm assured bacon are worth little more than 140p/kg, but regular sellers of farm assured pigs could be looking closer to 150p/kg, but probably not close enough!
The sow market has remained at similar levels on the week reflecting the static price of pigs throughout much of Western Europe and with the Euro worth 85.58p cull sow quotes from exporters have generally been between 62p – 64p/kg with a touch more in places for those prepared to haggle.
Weaner prices continue to be influenced by the rising SPP, although most pigs in this category are RSPCA assured, but the market has more of a chill wind blowing through it for those looking for homes for Red Tractor weaners at either 7kg or 30kg.
At least on the straw front, better than forecast straw yields at harvest look to be more promising as far as the UK is concerned, but as RSPCA assured producers confirm straw is still a major expense for them and some bed and breakfast contractors are suggesting that a price rise should be on the menu.
The cost of pig feed ingredients is still a major talking point and with feed wheat traded for July at £203/t and for September at £166/t, it is no wonder that this is still giving producers a fair bit of financial grief.
Spot ex farm UK wheat prices have averaged £196.3/t.
Barley prices have eased a touch with feed barley traded at £152/t for August compared with £158/t seven days earlier.
Proteins continue to look expensive with Hipro soya deals agreed for August – October at £362/t and May – October 2022 at £341/t.
Rapemeal deals for August – October have been agreed at £226/t with November – April 2022 looking slightly more expensive at £229/t.
And finally, at a time when the cost of pig production has been at its highest for ten years, during the first three months of this year and according to the AHDB COP was an eye watering174p/kg and just to rub salt into the wound labour costs on indoor and outdoor pig units and in the processing and logistics sectors are also going through the roof.
This is because of flawed thinking by those in favour of Brexit forgetting the fact that a huge proportion of UK workers in the food sector were provided by migrants who have since been told to go forth and multiply, but those who are still here can in some situations name their price.
There have been reports of standoff situations arising in some abattoirs with their contract labour staff and this is all adding to COP levels, which are already identified as being far too high to be viable.
Difficult times ahead and no easy solutions, unless migrant workers can be persuaded to return to the UK in large numbers and agree how much money they will receive.