Step by Step

In the words of Neil Armstrong, today was another “small step for man” and most prices are continuing their steady upward progress but not exactly setting the Thames on fire.

The latest SPP put on .46p this week and now stands at 154.21p although the influential German producer price has remained pegged at €1.85, which is 164p in our money.

Weekly contribution prices are likely to be anywhere between stand on and one or two of the more adventurous buyers have put a couple of extra pee in the pot but they are still well adrift of spot values which are in and around the 158- 160p mark and certainly looking healthier than they have done for quite a while.

Sow prices are continuing to reflect firm but static demand throughout much of Europe with export values in the 109- 112p region, but this could paint a completely different picture if a “no deal” situation ensues following the latest discussions between Barking Boris and his EU counterparts.

The weaner market is continuing to remain reasonably firm although space is still something of a problem with the latest AHDB 7kg ex farm average improving by 39p to stand at £39.75/head but no quote was available for 30kg weaners although there have been reports of Red Tractor weaners in the £52-£54 range where space is available.

Pig finishers with a bit of pluck should take a long hard look at where weaner prices are currently and the steady strengthening in finished pig values which looks as though it should carry on while the ASF epidemic continues to challenge pig herds throughout 13 Asian countries and more worryingly still some closer to home in the EU and for those who are wondering, it does not necessarily mean that if or when we leave the EU we will be free of the threat of ASF!

On the commodities front feed ingredients are on some cases a shade firmer with November ’19 wheat traded at £139/t and for September 2020 at £148/t.

Barley remains good value with November 2019 at a £125/t and September 2020 £138/t. As far as proteins are concerned, these are marginally dearer with Hipro soya meal changing hands for November-April 2020 at £306/t and for May-October 2020 at £312/t.

However, Chicago wheat futures closed easier last night dropping by $4/t and France also remains a cheap seller into the export market at a time when Chicago maize futures have also been showing easier trends.

And finally, the global pig meat market remains vulnerable to all sorts of challenges, the latest of which is the 25% tariff which the Trump administration has imposed on pork products from the EU (and that still includes us even though we are about to receive the order of the boot) which unfortunately means that all or some of the hard work involved in sending antibiotic free, high welfare pig meat to the US has been kicked into the long grass.

As far as ASF is concerned, the welcome introduction of sniffer dogs at UK airports might help to keep the ASF risk at bay and it will be interesting to see how many bags of white powder they also find! ASF is the largest animal disease outbreak that the world has experienced and the rapid spread of the virus which now affects the whole of China since it was diagnosed a year ago is a warning to us all of the way in which our industry can be completely destroyed by this scourge.

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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: