Sweet & Sour

Something of a mixed dish as far as buyers and sellers are concerned, with the SPP falling by 0.21p for the first time in 23 weeks, but its current value of 164.54p still makes a pleasant comparison with 133.98p 12 months ago.

An easier trend in pig prices was flagged up by spot quotes where demand could best be described as lacklustre, with fewer takers, as most outlets had enough contract pigs to work with, but prices that were recorded were generally in the 165-170p range, according to spec, with ‘regular’ sellers receiving more of premium than one-off, out of the blue pigs looking for a home.

Weekly contribution prices are also easing back in places, with some dropping by 2p, and recent price corrections will soon be further reflected in the SPP and other index figures.

However, most pigs found homes, although producers would be well-advised to make sure they do not have too many pigs around over the late August bank holiday period.

The Euro on the other hand did the UK pork trade a favour, trading on Friday afternoon worth 90.87p, compared with 85.7p at the start of the year, and for those who struggle to work out the benefits, a weak Euro/strong pound means imports cost more and exports are worth more, so good news as far as pigmeat is concerned.

An improvement in the value of the currency was also reflected in cull sow quotes which moved up by a penny in most cases, with values generally between 95-97p. But spare a thought for our Scottish pig farmer friends following a major fire at the Quality Pork Ltd (QPL) Brechin abattoir, which reopened last September and provided a vital outlet, not only for finished pigs but also for cull sows, which will now have to face a long journey from Scotland over the border to England.

Weaner prices have also followed the slightly easier trend being seen in finished pig values, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm average quoted at £60.06/head and 7kg at £45/head. Although premiums are still available for spot loads of weaners, they have, to some extent, come off the boil, especially while many finishers are still busy carting straw in between rain showers.

UK grain prices ended another week virtually unchanged during a ‘stop-start’ period for combines, with the latest ex-farm UK feed wheat average quoted at £133.60/t, but UK prices have also benefitted from the weakness of Sterling against the Euro.

Futures prices saw little change on the week, with November traded at £142/t on the LIFFE exchange, March at £146.50/t and July at £149.65/t.

UK protein prices have also eased a touch, with Brazilian 48% soyameal quoted ex-Liverpool at £282/t and 34% rapemeal ex-Kent at £162/t, influenced to some extent by the latest USDA report of another record soya bean crop.

And finally, reports of contaminated eggs, mainly from the Netherlands, containing Fipronil, provide yet another reason for UK consumers to ‘buy British’ as far as all foods are concerned, where they will at least know that our welfare, traceability and Farm Assurance standards are second to none, especially as far as UK Farm Assured British pigs are concerned!

And finally, finally… it will be if Donald Trump gets his short, stubby fingers on the button on his desk, but he should remember that jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war, especially if this has an adverse effect on UK pigmeat export opportunities to China and the Far East!

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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