You Are Not Alone

Although the SPP took a surprise upward step rising by 2.19p to stand at 151.01p, unfortunately this is only borrowed and its downward track will continue…more on this later.

EU prices seem to have held at current bargain basement levels with the German pig producer price standing on at 1.20 EUR and the latest UK weekly contribution prices are, in the main, holding at last week’s levels, with the big players prices generally between 142p at the top end and 130p at the base.

UK spot bacon prices have been hit by very low imported pig meat deals and as a result have been in the 125p – 130p/kg region for regular sellers.

Currency prices have done nothing to help the cull sow market with the Euro trading at 84.39p compared with 84.9p seven days earlier and although values have remained at similar levels in the main these are still at rock bottom level as low as 25p/kg in places, which continues to paint a bleak picture for producers who have been forced to cull their sows due to the financial situation and low global pig prices.

Space for weaners remains extremely limited due to the cork in the whole supply chain bottle with yet more overweight pigs in the queue for slaughter and reports of heavy pig values for boxing and freezing being in the 75p/kg region.

The weaner market has developed into very much of a two tier trade with RSPCA assured 7kg piglets sold on contract still to a large extent between £35 – £38/head, although further price reductions are on the cards and spot weaners are in some cases impossible to move with a significant number of on farm slaughter piglets going for rendering rather than human consumption, which is a tragedy for the producers, their workers and their bank accounts.

The relentless rise in feed costs is putting yet more pressure on the whole pig meat supply chain with the latest UK feed wheat quotes of £209/t for November delivery and £192/t for September 2022. UK ex farm spot wheat continues to rise in value with the overall countrywide average up again at £196.40/t.

Although barley is quoted at a an eye-watering £196/t for November and £180/t for September 2022, in reality very few supplies are available with reports of Yorkshire farmers having to pay as much as £220/t to secure any if they can afford it.

Protein values are a gnat’s whisker easier which is a slight relief with Hipro soya deals agreed for November delivery at £361/t and £327/t for May – October 2022, for those who are still in business at that stage! Rapemeal values are a touch dearer than a week ago with November – January 2022 quoted at £268/t.

And finally, thanks to the heroic efforts of the NPA and many individual farmers, the Cabinet Office seem to be showing more interest in the plight of the industry with the result that some fairly modest concessions have been made or are likely to be announced, none of which provide an immediate solution to the problems facing the pig industry but at least they are a step in the right direction.

This includes Private Storage Aid which at least provides a temporary solution assuming freezer capacity can be found, but it is far from a longer term cure.

Indications that around 800 oversea abattoir workers will be issued with temporary visas are also encouraging, but apparently they will only be granted for six months while the slaughter industry have said they need an additional 15,000 workers across the sector.

It may, however, be difficult to persuade migrant workers to return to the scene of the crime. With most of the UK domestic work force are either in the can’t work or won’t work category, according to industry sources migrants seem to be the only sector who can actually resolve this problem to a significant degree.

Now that some pig producers are being forced into slaughtering their own pigs and piglets with several thousand head between 7kg – 20kg slaughtered on farm, photographs of these horrific scenes have been passed to the Government who are now beginning to accept that further help is essential to prevent a further animal welfare catastrophe.

Meat industry contacts are however underlining that until these relief workers are actually installed the situation concerning the backlog of pigs on farms is likely to rise before the impact of these new measures can be assessed.

For those who have the financial means and mental strength to live with the situation, looking further ahead there should be an improvement in the longer term future, but hard to predict when.

Even the Queen is reported to be ‘not amused’ unlike certain others.

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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