Reasons to be cheerful…

Although pig prices are continuing to head south and the SPP lost 1.29p this week and now stands at 161.04, this still compares favourably with 141.03 a year ago.

Weekly contribution prices have generally eased by between 2-3p, but the influential German producer pig price continues to tumble losing another 5 Euro cents this week, meaning that over the past three weeks their prices have dropped by a total of 17 cents, equivalent to 15p/kg,ie a valuation reduction of around £13 per pig.

With more than enough pigs to go round there was very little activity in the spot market but where space was available, sellers of one off loads of surplus pigs were unlikely to be bid much more than 150p though regular sellers were ahead of this.

The sow market has also suffered from the crash in German prices which has become something of a ‘Katastrophe’ losing another 6 pence today with most trading at or below 80p compared with 100p not many months ago.

Thankfully, the Euro has maintained recent values trading at 88.2p at noon on Friday.

Weaner prices will also come under pressure especially as the majority are tied into the SPP with sharp falls forecast as far as spot weaners are concerned, although the latest AHDB averages are still painting a relatively rosy picture with 30kg weaners averaging £60.22/head and 7kg £42.77.

However, spot 7kg weaners are reported to be trading in the £35 /head region and 30kg £50/head but some significant variations will still apply according to load size and quality.

The grain markets

On the grain markets, European and Russian wheat prices have increased slightly and Chicago wheat futures are also a shade dearer. The UK wheat market was slightly firmer with November feed wheat futures traded on the LIFFE market at £141.75/t with May next year at £147.75/t.

September ex-farm feed wheat prices were recorded at around the £132/t mark. UK protein prices have also moved in sympathy with global trends, with 48% soya meal ex-Liverpool traded at £300/t and 35% rape meal ex Erith at £162/t.

As previously advised, time spent in the office studying grain prices is seldom wasted and if pig prices are going to continue to head south now might be the time to take some feed positions to try and limit future losses.

And finally good news that a new pork advertising campaign to try and stimulate consumer demand came on our TV screens this week. It is part of a 3 year plan by the AHDB to stimulate the image of pork as a meal solution for ‘busy’ families.

Although TV advertising is notoriously expensive, it is one of the most effective forms of communication with potential customers and, as they say, ‘you’ve got to give if you want to gather’.

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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: