Peter Crichton’s commentary for June 17, 2016

Prices have continued their upward momentum, albeit at a relatively steady rate, with the SPP putting on 0.97p this week to stand at 120.4p/kg – but spot prices are 4p to 6p ahead of this in most cases.

As a result, spot bacon buyers are keen to replace missing numbers with most spot bacon traded at or around 125p/kg, with some lighter weights selling at up to 130p/kg in some cases – although there’s a saying “the highest are the lowest”, that is the net return is much more interesting than the bid price!

Weekly contribution contract prices have also nudged up a penny or two in places, and the majority are now between 120p and 124p/kg.

European pigmeat prices have also improved, with the latest German producer asking price rising 6C to 1.570 ueos, which at the current exchange rate means that German producers could be looking at bid prices equivalent to 122p/kg in UK terms and more in places.

Uncertainty over the “In/Out” EU Referendum next week could play havoc with exchange rates, although a slight reduction in the value of the pound on Friday saw the euro worth 78.81p compared with 78.48p a week earlier, with the result that cull sow prices moved up by a modest penny, but they still have a long way to go to catch up with previous highs with most cull sow quotes in the 65p – 67p/kg range, according to spec.

Weaner prices have still yet to fully react to the better outlook for finished pig values in the months ahead, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm average quoted at £40.40/head and 7kg at £29.85/head, but spot trade was reported to be significantly higher than this in some cases, because the market is being held back by a slow moving SPP on which many weaner contract deals are based.

Cereal prices ended another relatively quiet week and slightly in producers’ favour, with ex-farm feed wheat quoted at £106.80/t. The futures market also ended a relatively quiet run, with UK feed wheat quoted at £108.55/t for July and £120/t for November – but soya still looks expensive.

And finally, this time next week the great EU Referendum Debate will be all over (bar the shouting or wailing) and it’s interesting to see from various contributions made by pig industry readers of this column how divergent their views are.

Although my heart says leave, my head says stay, which is where I will be voting, and I feel that although there may be some short-term benefit for the pig industry if we pull out and the pound collapses, in the longer term I believe our beloved pig industry will be in safer hands as part of Europe than outside it . . . we’ll see, but cast your minds back to the chaos that ensued after UK livestock exports were banned during the Foot and Mouth furore in 2001.

And finally finally, the bookies don’t often get too many things wrong, and at the moment most of the big firms are offering slightly shorter odds to stay than to go, but this will be a one off contest with no stewards’ enquiry or photo finish, and we’ll all have to abide by the result!

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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: