Cull sow trade hit by COVID outbreak at EU plant, as number allocations remain low

The cull sow trade has taken another hit as due to a significant COVID outbreak at one of the major continental processors.

The trade has already struggled badly in recent months due to oversupply in Europe, with spot cull sow prices now in the region of 13-20p/kg, according Thames Valley Cambac (TVC). “Numbers of culls were limited with many having to be rolled,” TVC said in its latest weekly market update.

More generally, TVC described how the ‘merry-go-round’ continued last week with ‘little ambition from any of the processors to increase number allocations’.

“Factory reliability continued to be questionable, and staffing remains an issue. Lower contract contributions and a large fall in the SPP combined to force prices lower.

“Space on farm is at a premium and slaughter weights continue to breach new highs. Extra slaughter space can solve this tedious circle, and we are open to any ideas, because without significant change soon, on farm slaughter becomes more realistic.”

European markets were little changed, but prices in sterling were substantially lower due a weaker Euro that ended the week down 1.57p at 83.93p – its lowest level since February 2020.

The weaner market remains ‘extremely subdued and badly disrupted’ as the backlog in the slaughter market affects unit restocks. There is little or no spot market and there were no prices issued by AHDB.

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 21/11/21   Movement on last week

SPP                                          144.16             – 2.31

Tribune Spot Bacon                143.66             – 1.10

European Av.                          104.57             – 1.88

Belgium                                   81.75               – 1.53

Denmark                                 94.84               – 1.70

France                                     124.38             – 1.74

Germany                                 100.71             – 1.90

Ireland                                     122.53             – 2.31

Holland                                    96.85               – 1.82

Spain                                       111.20             – 2.09

(Ref Weekly Tribune)

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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.