It’s Now or Never

The latest SPP of 137.86p is virtually unchanged following the pattern in Europe where most reference prices have also stood on but at even lower levels.

GB weekly contribution prices have remained stuck in the mire between 130p/kg at the bottom end and 138p/kg at the top, but all of these prices are still way below COP levels.

Cheap EU imports are continuing to hammer the UK spot market, where prices are still lagging way behind the SPP and regular spot sellers are finding it difficult to get much more than 110p-114p/kg – but for those looking for homes for one off loads of spot pigs, there is virtually no space anywhere and consequently there are reports of some deals being agreed in the 70p-85p/kg region.

An increase in the value of the Pound has done nothing to help the Euro which has slipped from 84.6p last week to 84.01p today and cull sow bids remain at rock bottom levels with most between 20p-23p/kg.

Any upward movement in European cull sow values would be a positive sign, but as yet their prices like ours remain firmly in the doldrums.

Weaner prices continue to fall although no AHDB averages have been published this week, but 7kg RSPCA assured piglets are reported to be trading in the £32.50 – £37/head range depending on contract terms.

Spot weaners still remain extremely hard to place with very low prices being reported and reports continue to be received of some breeders being forced to euthanise homeless piglets.

Cereal prices are unfortunately creeping up due to ongoing tensions in the Ukraine with Comrade Rasputin continuing to rattle his sabre and the latest UK spot feed wheat ex farm average has gone up from £215.30/t to £217.50/t over the past seven days.

UK futures prices have seen feed wheat up £4/t to £221/t for March delivery and £200/t for September.
Feed barley is also reflecting bullish trends with March barley deals agreed at £212/t and £187/t for September.

To make matters worse protein prices are continuing to surge ahead with March Hipro soya at £458/t and £431/t for November – April 2023. Rapemeal remains expensive at £324/t for March – April.

And finally, despite the best efforts of the NPA and a series of emergency crisis summit meetings with the Government, although the Farm Minister promised a review of ‘fairness in the pig supply chain’, as yet there are no signs of this being translated into action while the situation on farm continues to worsen day by the day with overstocked pens and animal welfare challenges, not to mention the dire effect this is having upon farmers’ morale and their loyal staff.

Rather than have an inquest over the current nightmare, until there is a solution to the problem of huge numbers of overweight pigs caught up in the pig supply chain there is little hope of resolving this crisis.

An increase in abattoir labour availability would still help but only a trickle of butchers are appearing on these shores but any signs of an increase in EU pig meat prices might help to stimulate demand for heavy pigs and cull sows, although until then more producers will be heading for the exit door.

The current Government attitude seems to be a case of ‘something should be done’ but not by us! An industry sponsored welfare slaughter scheme funded by the live pig and abattoir sectors by way of a levy might be one way to help to ease the heavy pig bottleneck and save the whole supply chain before it is too late.

Unless some sort of rescue package can be launched, the industry is very much in a now or never situation.

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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: