Wishful Thinking

Pig prices are continuing to improve with the SPP putting on a useful 1.24p and now standing at 145.1p.

However, German prices have remained largely unchanged with their producer price quoted at 1.42EUR, which works out at around 122p in real money, but this does not reflect the much lower level of slaughter deductions and free haulage, which most German prices include.

Back on this side of the pond, weekly contribution prices have taken another step up increasing by up to 3p/kg, with most between 140p and 147p/kg.

Spot prices are also continuing to travel north but any buyers short of pigs will need to be thinking in terms of competing with contract prices at 142p or above.

Cull sow values have staged a marginal recovery and after falling by 13p/kg over the last two weeks, prices have generally gone up by 3p/kg today but are still 10p/kg on the wrong side of where they were.

The value of the Euro has remained virtually unchanged and traded today worth 86.9p, but the European cull sow market continues to be haunted by Covid which is still putting pressure on throughputs much to the chagrin of some of the major operators.

As a result, cull sow prices are still extremely low with export buyers currently paying between 55p – 60p/kg.

Weaner prices have remained firm and for those tied to the value of the SPP, some have moved ahead with 7kg RSPCA assured piglets traded in the £35 – £37/head range, but space still remains tight and the prospect of expensive straw and feed at harvest time is already giving some finishers sleepless nights.

Although there have been some breaks in the recent ‘drought’, 2021 harvest crop yields are still being challenged.

Protein and cereal prices in most cases have continued to move ahead with June feed wheat quoted at £210/t and September at £185/t and feed barley at £179/t for June.

Spot UK feed wheat has traded at £198.3/t ex farm, compared with £195.5/t a week ago.

The protein market is also remaining strong with Hipro soya quoted at £372/t for Jun – October and £374/t for November – April 2022.

As a result, UK finishers’ COP levels are still far too high at around 150p/kg d/wt and it will still be some time before rising pig prices overtake cost of production levels.

And finally, at a time when the number of UK pig abattoirs continues to shrink, reports are being received that the fallout from the loss of China exports may put the future of Pilgrims’ Ashton pig abattoir under the spotlight with a three day week, following the number of Covid tests at their premises.

Although the company has received a clean bill of health, political tensions between China and the UK have escalated and are affecting the sustainability of the site and over 600 employees.

All abattoirs are a vital part of the supply chain large and small and hopefully pig meat sales to China will be allowed to resume before any further damage is inflicted on the industry.

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.