Although all our troubles used to be so far away, but currently there are several challenges facing pig producers especially over the Christmas period.

The SPP continues its downward path, losing another 1.05p to stand at 156.03p, but fortunately German bacon and cull sow prices have remained at stand on levels rather than dropping again.

The German producer price for a bacon pig of 1.45 EUR works out at a mere 1.29p in our money which is around 25p adrift of the UK price, but makes cheap imported cuts and joints look extremely competitive and good value to consumers.

Most weekly contribution prices remain under pressure with prices down by up to 2p, but with virtually all pigs being sold on contract, there was very little evidence of much activity in the spot market where one-off loads of spot bacon pigs if space allowed were worth in the 135p to 140p region.

Despite the recent interest rate rise, the £ has remained under a certain amount of pressure and the Euro traded worth 89p on Friday compared with 88.65p a week ago. But this slight improvement in the value of the Euro was not enough to stimulate UK cull sow exporters to increase their prices which remain very low in the 70-73p region.

Weaner prices have to some extent defied gravity as far as the AHDB averages are concerned, with the 30kg ex-farm average up by £2.43 to £58.73/head and the 7kg average piglet price also headed north going up by £1.19 to £42.90/head. But very much of a two tier market has developed with a significant gap between Freedom Foods and Red Tractor.

Grain and protein prices have ended a fairly flat week and little changed, with UK ex-farm spot feed wheat trading in the £134/t region and on the futures market UK feed wheat deals were done at £139/t for November and £148.80/t for July next year.

Chicago soya bean futures fell last week due to much needed rains arriving in Brazil and with reports of a few UK farmers experimenting with growing their own crops of soya beans, it will be interesting to see if there is any further growth in this market which will certainly help to reduce ‘food miles’!

And finally, congratulations to Charlie Allen who was the worthy winner of the 2017 David Black Award earlier this week, which was richly deserved by this hard working ‘simple pig farmer’ as he describes himself.

For those looking to gather more gongs and medals, the National Pig Awards bun fight takes place this Monday, November 6 at the Lancaster Hotel in London where the good, the bad and the ugly in the industry will be in evidence. This popular event is certainly a good way to sign off what has so far been an eventful year and good in parts, with possibly some more challenges around the corner too!

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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: