Space Oddity

Very much of a “stand on” feeling in the pig world today and although the SPP put on 1.1p and has finally broken through the 150p barrier now standing at 150.86p, European mainland pig meat prices are holding at generally similar levels with the influential German producer price quoted at €1.83.

This is still miles ahead of equivalent prices on this side of the Channel and converts to 164p/kg which is some 14p higher than the SPP. Most of the big bacon abattoirs decided to leave their contribution prices unchanged within the 142-150p range, but this is still not reflecting pig meat values in mainland Europe.

There was not much activity in the spot market with deals done in the 152-154p region and retail demand still remains rather fragile for the time of year.

Cull sow prices have also remained in “stand on” mode with very little variation in the value of the euro, which traded on Friday worth 89.76p compared with 89.73p a week ago.

As a result, most cull sow export quotes were in the 102-107p range according to load size but with some reports filtering through suggesting that in the weeks ahead cull sow values in Europe could actually drop, which is hopefully “fake news”.

Weaner values are also reflecting a slightly more optimistic outlook for finish pig prices in the months ahead with the latest AHDB 30kg weaner average quoted at £51.96/head and the 7kg average rising by £1.18 to £37.66.

However, one off lots of Red Tractor weaners are still very hard to place with most rearing and finishing accommodation choc-a-bloc and very little additional space in the system and with buyers likely to be tied up with harvest in the next few weeks, this could be a very “quiet” time as far as spot weaner values are concerned and those with contracts afoot should keep them in a safe place.

Feed prices are also remaining at reasonably benign levels with London feed wheat traded for July at £145.20/t, November at £150/t rising to £162/t in 12 months’ time.

Protein prices have remained at generally similar levels with 48% soya meal quoted ex Liverpool in the £320/t region and rape meal at £185/t and with signs of a fairly useful UK and EU mainland harvest being predicted, hopefully this may to some extent help to keep feed costs under control, although we are only a very small part of a much larger jigsaw.

And finally on the subject of space and the lack of it for pig rearing and finishing accommodation, now is probably the time for some of the more forward thinking operators in the business to reinvest in rearing and finishing accommodation for which there is a good return in terms of either rental or on bed and breakfast systems and one way in which hard working farmers can to some extent insulate themselves against the rollercoaster nature of the pig industry.

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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: