Reasons To Be Cheerful

Although there are still many challenges facing the pig industry, one or two slightly more positive notes are starting to be sounded which might hopefully be indicating a better outlook for those producers who have been able to survive all the problems that have been thrown in their direction.

The SPP went up by another 2.23p to stand at 191.11p and EU pig prices are in some countries displaying slightly more bullish tendencies than previously.

The latest German producer price is holding at 1.85 EUR and reports are that demand has improved to a modest extent in some but not all of the main EU countries. Average carcass weights are also down a touch and now stand at 88.48kg.

Although UK weekly contribution prices still seem to be anchored at their present levels between 190p/kg at the top and 173p/kg at the bottom, once the shortage of pigs in the UK has filtered through the supply chain this could follow more of an upward track”.

Spot bacon prices are also showing a little bit more life than previously with reports of prices in the 170p/kg region, although these are still up to 20p/kg below the SPP. The Euro has also held at generally stand on levels trading on Friday worth 84.7p.

Unfortunately, imported pig meat is still a thorn in the side of the UK industry but if pig numbers start to tighten up across Europe this could possibly nudge our prices in the right direction too.

Cull sow prices have ended the week in a similar position to seven days earlier with the majority between 47p and 51p/kg. The weaner market remains highly selective with relatively firm demand for 7kg RSPCA Assured contract piglets selling in some cases between £44-£48/head.

Some marketing groups are also reporting a little more interest in 30kg weaners than previously in the hope that finished pig returns twelve weeks down the line might be slightly firmer than they are now.

However, the high cost of feed continues to dominate the whole pig meat supply chain, but a glimmer of hope has appeared with BBC reports of a proposed deal for Ukraine exports to resume via the Black Sea. Although there are a number of bridges to be crossed (assuming they have not been blown up), the Ukraine grain export proposals could provide a critical step forward as far as the whole UK pig meat supply chain is concerned.
Currently the effect of these proposals has yet to have much influence on cereal and protein prices, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

The latest UK ex farm spot feed wheat weekly average price stands at £250/t compared with £195/t a year ago……….those were the days! Futures prices have eased a touch with feed wheat for September delivery at £271/t and feed barley at £253/t.

Protein prices remain high with Hipro soya for August – October delivery quoted at £495/t and longer months have seen May – October 2023 at £445/t. Rapemeal deals have been agreed for August – October at £279/t and £289/t for November 2022 – January 2023.

And finally, thanks to several reminders from the NPA, it is good to see that the Government has finally launched its long awaited review of the UK pig sector with the intention of improving fairness and transparency within the supply chain.

However, currently very little has been seen in the way of actual financial support for the pig industry and there is still some confusion over the extent to which UK pig producers have (or have not) benefited from various “top up” payments from some retailers, but in many cases on a per pig basis these work out at very low levels of contribution.

Perhaps a change of PM might be a step in the right direction and could certainly be no worse than the previous incumbent!

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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: www.petercrichton.co.uk