Slaughter capacity comes under further pressure

Slaughter capacity continued to diminish last week as more factories succumbed to staff shortages caused by COVID-19, according to Thames Valley Cambac (TVC).

“This is not the scenario we wanted to be in for the last full trading week of the year,” TVC said in its latest market update. “Pigs continue to pile up, and average weights are trending ever higher. There are some weight and probe extensions on some contracts to help ease the financial hit with overweights, but that is small comfort to those with bulging production.”

Contract price contributions stood on but prices eased due to another penny fall in the SPP. The fresh meat trade was a touch livelier in anticipation of Christmas orders.

However, the cull sow trade and volume were ‘severely constrained’ as one exporter was unable to kill due to COVID amongst its staff. “With Christmas looming, it means that many culls will now have to roll into the New Year,” TVC said.

In Europe, prices were generally similar with Spain the only notable faller, but price quotes in sterling increased as the Euro ended the week up 2.01p at 92.29p.

Weaner movements are getting more restrictive with regular trades not immune to being changed, cut back or cancelled altogether. The impending holiday season will only compound the problems, TVC predicted.

No quote given was given by AHDB for a 30kg store pig and the weighted average for a 7kg weaner rose by 1p to £39.57.

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 13/12/20   Movement on last week
European Av.              118.88                         + 2.01
Belgium                       85.10                           + 1.86
Denmark                     117.80                         + 2.57
France                         133.01                         + 2.47
Germany                     109.83                         + 2.39
Ireland                         146.01                         + 3.18
Holland                       108.77                         + 1.97
Spain                           131.61                         – 0.38

(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.