At last it is good to see that most prices are starting to move in favour of hard pressed pig producers with the latest SPP now standing at a record 201.24p and reports from Europe are also indicating that demand is firm.
Signs are also emerging that some UK weekly contribution prices are waking up with the news that Woodheads weekly price has been put up by 10p/kg and now stands at 190p/kg, although at the time of preparing this report Karro remained at 165p/kg and Cranswick at 178p/kg.
The latest AHDB reports were that the average weights of pigs have plummeted from the soaring weights six months ago and are now at 88.37kg with slaughter numbers also much lower. Spot pig buyers have also found it difficult to source anything like the number of pigs required to meet demand and spot quotes have generally exceeded 200p/kg up to around 210p/kg.
The Euro traded on Friday at 88.4p which has helped to encourage cull sow buyers to pay between 87p – 91p/kg with numbers also very tight.
Fertility problems dating back to last summer are continuing to put downward pressure on the availability of weaners and finishers and as a result weaner prices are continuing to harden with very few spot weaners available and 7kg RSPCA Assured pigs are also in demand.
Feed Market Trends
Feed ingredient cereals are now almost on level terms with their value a year ago with the latest UK spot ex farm feed wheat weekly average quoted at £226.50/t compared with £223.1/t this time last year.
Futures prices have dropped by £10/t over the past seven days with feed wheat for February traded at £240/t and September 2023 at £230/t. Feed barley is also continuing to follow this falling trend with February deals agreed at £220/t and for September this year at £213/t
Unfortunately, protein prices have remained bullish with Hipro soya for February delivery at £553/t compared with £534/t seven days earlier and longer months saw May – October 2023 traded at £494/t.
Rapemeal prices are a touch dearer than they were last week with February – April at £368/t.
Although green shoots of recovery are continuing to flourish the elephant in the room still remains in the form of much cheaper pig meat imports from EU countries and beyond where for example the EU reference prices are as low as 177p/kg.
Unfortunately, there seems little opportunity for UK production costs to be driven any lower because of the much higher welfare standards adopted in the UK and the concern is that imports will continue to undercut the domestic market in the meantime.