Simply the Best

Pig prices are a shade firmer with the SPP moving up by 0.19p to stand at 139.60p but still a country mile from where they need to be for producers to be in the black, with COP levels still running well ahead of pig prices.

EU prices are on a plateau with the latest German producer price standing on at 1.50 EUR, which is equivalent to 129p in real money and rubbing noses with UK spot quotes, which have also been around the 130p/kg mark, but this sector still remains fairly quiet in the run up to Easter.

Better news, however, that some but not all of the main UK pig abattoirs will be working right through the Good Friday to Easter Monday period and it looks as though supply and demand will be more or less in balance, rather than suffering from a dreaded rollover.

Unlike the container ship stuck in the Suez Canal, some but not all of the weekly contribution prices have risen by between 1p and 3p per kg, with others however remaining anchored at last week’s levels.

The value of the Euro has remained little changed trading on Friday worth 86.5p and the same applies to cull sow prices which have also held at last week’s levels, with UK export abattoir bids approaching 70p/kg in most cases.

Although cull sows are now averaging around £100 per head, this is still well adrift of their value 12 months ago when UK sows were worth £125p/kg and the German price was 134p, but hopefully UK sow exporters are becoming more familiar with the piles of paperwork to accompany sow meat exports to the EU. It is still an expensive process and in some cases a bureaucratic nightmare, especially with pig meat imports sailing into this country with relative ease to rub salt into the wound.

Weaner prices have remained under pressure with buyers remaining extremely cautious due to a combination of a lack of finishing space and ongoing high feed costs.

Unfortunately the AHBD have yet to find their abacus and once again no average prices have been published, but reports are indicating that RSPCA assured piglets being traded on contract have generally been in the £35 – £37/head range with Red Tractor £2 – £4 below this level but in all cases, there are however still some wide variations depending on load size and whether or not the pigs have been traded on contract or spot but establishing weaner values recently has been rather like playing darts with a blindfold on.

Cereal and protein prices have eased a touch but nowhere near enough to make much of an impression on overall feed costs, with UK feed wheat traded at £203/t for April and £166/t for September.

Barley has also eased by a few Pounds trading at £164/t for April down from £167/t a week ago, although September looks better value at £149/t.

Ex farm spot feed wheat is also a little easier at £195/t.

Proteins saw Hipro soya deals agreed at £369/t for April and £360/t for November – April 2022.

Rape meal is worth £257/t for April.

And finally, good news as Red Tractor have launched their biggest ever advertising campaign which some 45 million consumers are expected to watch on mainstream TV channels and although this will apply to more than just pork as well as sheep, beef, dairy and fresh produce, this campaign should increase pork consumption as the holiday period approaches and beyond that when BBQs could be spluttering into action across the nations patios.

Hopefully if the Covid lockdown situation is relaxed in the weeks ahead, this will also help to stimulate demand and remind consumers that there is nothing better than UK pork.

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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