Peter Crichton’s commentary for July 26, 2013

Very much of a stand-on day for sellers with the DAPP virtually unchanged at 168.81p and all of the shout price abattoirs wisely leaving their prices at similar levels so the table remains unaltered as below:

Woodheads, 167p/kg
Gills, 166p/kg
Tulip, 164p/kg
Karro, 161p/kg
Cranswick, 160p/kg

Spot buyers were also quieter than a week ago with opening bids around the 170p mark, but by the afternoon some where still looking to fill in a few gaps in the system and might need to give a couple of pence more to fill their books.

However, pig supplies remain short and this is likely to be the pattern in the weeks ahead, especially as far as Freedom Foods pigs are concerned with yet more demand from supermarkets at the mid- and upper-end of the retail ladder.

Signs are also emerging that if, following the horsegate scandal, retailers are going to be looking for yet more fully accredited farm assured British pigs, there may not be enough to around, which could make for a more interesting autumn than usual.

Strong EU mainland prices were also triggered by yet another rise in cull sow quotes, which have now breached the 120p/kg benchmark for the first time since June last year, also helped by a slightly firmer Euro trading up on Friday at 86.30p/kg.

Weaner prices have, however, remained relatively static with the recent AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average quoted at £53.58 and 7kg in the £35-38 range.

Prospects of cheaper feed now that harvest is starting should also help to rebuild some confidence with breeders and finishers with ex-farm old-crop wheat quoted at £162/t compared with more rhan £200/t a year ago. London futures closed down on the week with November wheat quoted at £163/t and March 2014 at £166/t.

Finally, West Country producers were saddened to hear that Karro (formerly Vion, and before that Grampian) has decided to start employee consultation proceedings with its staff as it is reported to wish to end killing and butchery activities at its Wiveliscombe plant, which has a capacity of around 5,000 pigs/week, to concentrate on curing and food service activities.

If closed, this will be a sad end to a conveniently situated West Country abattoir built from new by Paul Barber and his family in 1989, before being sold in 1996. If the closure goes ahead, it will be interesting to see if the Karro pigs are trucked 300 miles to Malton, or are switched to other outlets in the region.

> Suffolk-based Peter Crichton is an auctioneer 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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