Peter Crichton’s commentary for May 29, 2015

Although the SPP has continued to slide, and now stands at its lowest point since its conception, standing at 131.11p/kg, there was a slightly firmer feeling to overall demand today. And although very few spot buyers could be persuaded to pay much more, some contract buyers were looking for extra pigs earlier in the week, confirming that numbers are starting to tighten a shade.

A return to better weather would work wonders for the industry as a whole, which on the basis of the current weather forecast this weekend, doesn’t hold much promise.

Weekly announced contract base prices have generally stood on, although Cranswick went up 1p/kg, and spot bacon was generally traded in or around 130p.

Despite the euro actually improving marginally in value compared to the start of the week, trading on Friday at 71.9p, this didn’t prevent the two major cull sow buyers from pulling down their prices by 1p due to yet another German Bank Holiday next Thursday, and plenty of stock on hand in a “short” week, with the result that most cull sows were traded in the 55p/kg to 57p/kg range, which still underlines the very low level to which EU mainland values have fallen.

Weaner prices have held at generally similar levels, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm average a touch firmer at £44.82/head, but 7kg easing back to £32.87/head. A revival in finished pig prices would help the flagging weaner market, with many producers now selling below cost of production levels.

The grain markets also ended another relatively quiet week with ex-farm spot feed wheat quoted at £107/t, but futures prices were a touch firmer, with July feed quoted on the LIFFE exchange at £111/t and November also hardening to £121/t.

The new-crop outlook remains good for much of the EU, but rainfall is needed in Spain where not much has been falling on the plain.

Protein prices remain in producers’ favour to some extent, with Brazilian soya meal quoted ex-Liverpool on a spot delivery basis at £307/t and rapemeal quoted ex-Kent delivery at £204/t.

Those producers prepared to spend a few hours in the office should keep a close eye on the cereal markets because more money can be won (or lost) buying feed than on any other activity on a pig farm.

And finally, with all the fallout following the FIFA allegations, for those who follow football (not just Narwich), we hear that when they were arrested, the seven FIFA officials threw themselves to the ground and pretended to be injured. They also thought it was okay to accept kickbacks as long as they didn’t use their hands. Boom boom!

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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: