Peter Crichton’s commentary for November 22, 2013

Another very positive day for sellers, although the message is to keep pigs moving and perhaps nudge weights down in the run up to Christmas and the New Year just to leave a bit more space in the system in case predictions of falling EU demand early in the New Year prove to be true.

On this side of the Channel, sellers were generally operating in stand-on mode with Tulip unchanged at 168p, Gills at 172p and spot pigs also in ready demand with some buyers prepared to pay 180p/kg according to spec.

Unfortunately, the DAPP took its first significant downward step for a while dropping by 0.62p and now stands at 171.35p, but this is still more than 10p/kg higher than its value at the start of the year.

On the negative side, the gap between EU mainland and UK pigs continues to widen, and there’s something like a 35p/kg differential between the two.

On the International stage, reports are being received that Chinese pig numbers have picked up dramatically and they will need much less in the way of imports in the months ahead – and the same applies to the Russian market.

Sow prices have always provided a ready barometer of the health (or otherwise) of the EU mainland pigmeat market and once again the two main UK cull sow exporters were prepared to pay stand-on prices with most sows quoted in the 110-114p/kg range according to spec and load size.

The euro finished the week worth 83.55p which is almost identical with last week’s position, but a stronger euro would certainly work wonders as far as the value of our pigmeat imports/exports are concerned, and any further weakness in this currency is to be viewed with some concern.

Weaner prices have continued to power ahead, although it has to be said that the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average of £57.51/head includes a significant proportion of Freedom Food pigs.

7kg weaners have also now topped the £40/head mark and there are plenty of buyers looking for numbers now that some space is available in the system.

UK Wheat futures ended the week slightly firmer with November closing at £165/t and next July is currently standing at £169.50/t.

Ex-farm feed wheat sold on a spot basis is currently quoted at £147.90/t, but global grain markets remain on an easier track following a record US maize harvest and better reports on US winter wheat planting levels.

Soya bean futures prices also closed easier and UK Hipro soya is quoted at £375/t for November delivery ex-dock.

All in all, the UK pig industry approaches the end of the year in a much better position than at the start, but producers are advised to “mind the gap” between UK and EU prices at the start of 2014.

> 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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