There Must Be A Way

The outlook for the British pig industry continues to deteriorate with the latest SPP down by 2.31p to 156.39p, which is its biggest drop since 2016.

UK weekly contribution prices are also continuing to fall and are down in most cases by around a penny with an even wider range between the top and bottom at anywhere between 135p and 148p.

The spot bacon market is completely overloaded with very little space for pigs regardless of prices and although prices paid to regular spot sellers have been in the 135p/kg region, one off loads of pigs are at a massive discount in what is a buyers’ market in every sense of the word.

Probably one slightly encouraging factor is that cull sow values have remained in the main at similar levels worth 36p – 40p/kg, despite the Euro easing in value from 85.78p a week ago to 85.32p.

German pig prices have also levelled at 1.25 EUR which may be another hopeful sign that the collapse in pig prices throughout the EU may be levelling out, but it is still a long way to go for producers to have any hope of recouping any losses from the past year.

Weaner prices have taken a knock with the latest AHDB 7kg ex-farm average quoted at £37.68/head, but Red Tractor and spot weaners have been traded at significantly less money than this due to high feed costs and the ongoing glut of pigs in the supply chain.

However, feed prices have eased a little with spot ex farm wheat averaging £176.90/t compared with £183.70/t a week ago, too little too late in many cases, but better than nothing.

This slightly easier trend is reflected in futures prices with UK feed wheat traded for October delivery at £183/t compared with £185/t seven days ago.

Longer delivery dates saw feed wheat at £175/t for September 2022.

Feed barley prices have dropped a couple of Pounds per tonne with October delivery quoted at £177/t and September 2022 at £165/t.

Protein values have little changed with Hipro soya for October 2021 at £367/t and for May – October 2022 at £336/t.

Rapemeal is worth £247/t for October delivery.

And finally, although there are a whole catalogue of problems facing the pig industry, one of the main headaches is the build up of overweight pigs which abattoirs have been unable to process due to labour shortages in the slaughtering system.

If a way could be found for these overweight pigs to be processed that would help to release more space throughout the supply chain.

However, with no demand for pigs at this weight some form of assisted slaughter scheme has been called for by producers and the NPA.

AHDB has significant cash reserves ‘for a rainy day’ and pig producers claim that it could contribute towards funding an overweight pig disposal scheme and also deal with the animal welfare problems which will arise if farmers run out of space and feed because in terms of the weather, it is pouring with rain!

For all of these reasons our pig industry needs some help before it falls into complete disarray, which is why a remedy for this crisis must be found one way or another.

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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