Peter Crichton’s commentary for December 6, 2013

With the exception of sow prices, pig values have held at largely similar levels, although with a few more numbers about some spot buyers were able to save a copper or two with spot bacon generally trading in the 175-177p/kg range and lighter pigs 4-6p/kg above this.

Contract prices have remained at similar levels with Tulip and Gills standing on at 168p and 172p respectively, although the DAPP put on another 0.19p this week and now stands at 171.54p.

With only two full slaughtering weeks between now and Christmas, abattoirs will be busy and some big kills are forecast, but it has been refreshing to note that no pigs have been rolled and everything has found a home.

Despite this, producers are strongly advised to keep selling and maybe get their weight backs by 3-5kg to create a little space in the system if we hit a barren period after Christmas.

Ominous signs of falling EU mainland pigmeat values were flagged up by a 5p/kg drop in cull sow values with the result that both UK export abattoirs were generally tendering bids in the 108-111p/kg range according to spec.

The euro has, however, staged a slight recovery trading on Friday worth 83.6p compared with 82.8p a couple of days ago; any further rises in the value of the euro are to be welcomed as far as the pigmeat import/export balance is concerned.

Weaners continue to attract good demand, although the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average has eased to £55.00/head, but 7kg weaners are still trading north of £40/head.

The feed market has enjoyed another calm week with ex-farm wheat trading around the £160/t mark and January 2014 wheat futures nudging ahead on the LIFFE market to trade at £165.15/t with July looking more expensive at £171.25/t.

Recent reports of rising levels of EU wheat export licences may be pointing to a slightly more bullish market in the months ahead indicating strong demand for EU wheat relative to global levels.

And finally, we I’m disappointed to hear of the recent collapse of Dent Ltd, which went into administration on Monday. At one stage the company was the third largest pig producer in the country, and at the time of its demise it was reported to have about 100,000 pigs under its control.

Hopefully most of the viable parts of Dent Ltd will find new owners and pig production can continue, albeit in different hands, without too many casualties along the way.

> Suffolk-based 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

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