On the Road Again

Although prices may be on something of an upward curve, the SPP took a mysterious downward step losing 0.97p to stand at 144.88p, due apparently to one of the larger processers dropping their contribution price while most of the other players went up or stood on!

The influential German producer price has held on for the 5th week running and remains at 1.45 EUR and UK bacon buyers were fortunately showing a little more interest in pigs than they were a week ago, with prices now around 140p for one-off loads, although most pigs were readily absorbed by contract buyers.

Weekly contribution prices generously remained in stand on mode in the 136p – 144p range but we are hopefully somewhere at or close to the bottom of the current seasonal trough, with signs emerging of some of the major abattoirs looking for more pigs in the weeks and months ahead.

Unfortunately, a significant improvement in the value of the £ – with the Euro worth 86.73p on Friday compared with 87.34p a week earlier – did nothing to help UK pig meat import and export values with the result that, despite the German price remaining at stand on levels, cull sow quotes fell by around a penny and mainly traded between 67p and 70p.

The gap between Red Tractor and Freedom Food weaners continues to widen and, although there was no AHDB 30kg average available, the last time it was quoted two weeks ago they were worth £50.01/head. 7kg weaners slipped in value by £1.04/head more due to the lack of physical space rather than the major concerns about finish pig prices in the weeks and months ahead.

Cereal prices are continuing to improve albeit at a very slow rate, with ex farm UK spot feed wheat quoted at £146/t and on the futures market, while London feed wheat was traded at £146.65 for May and £147.80 for July. The recent announcement of the re-opening of the UK’s largest bioethanol plant in Yorkshire after a 4 month shutdown may also tighten up the market, as this user alone accounts for 1.1 Mt annual demand.

Although reports of record Brazilian soya bean crops might put some downward pressure on the prices, this does not go far enough to offset production cuts in Argentina.

And finally, Defra is reported to be looking at further tightening up of animal transport rules including a potential live export ban. Although this may have little effect on the pig industry, consumers need reminding that our welfare of animals in transit standards are amongst the highest in the world. More bureaucracy can often make journeys slower and more frequent, which does nothing to improve the welfare of pigs, which we all care about as well as having some of the best trained and skilled livestock truck drivers in the universe.

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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: www.petercrichton.co.uk