Pork plants continuing to cope with COVID-19 but supplies tight

As pork plants in Europe suffer significant disruption, major UK pork processors are continuing to cope with COVID-19 staffing issues, although supplies remain tight, according to Thames Valley Cambac.

In its latest market report, TVC said: “Supply yet again remained tight but processors seem to now understand the shortage there is for pig meat, not just by increasing prices, but also taking an active role to cutting kill days and utilising this time for factory maintenance.

“Luckily most majors in the UK seem to be coping with the Coronavirus crisis okay, unlike some processing plants in other European countries, Germany especially being hit rather hard, with the biggest processor having to close due to over 60% of its staff contracting the virus.

This closure of the Tönnies plant in Germany is having a knock-on effect on the UK cull sow market. Limited numbers are being killed here, due to logistical and staff issues in plants, TVC said.

In Europe, prices stood on across the board, in a further sign of stability after weeks of decline. Price quotes in sterling were boosted by a stronger Euro that ended the week up 0.86p at 90.51p.
Supplies of both 30kg stores and 7kg weaners remained on the tight side, and some orders failed to be fulfilled, TVC added. “However, some fatteners voiced concerns over the future feed costs, and general market direction as we leave lockdown,” TVC added.

There was no AHDB quote given for a 30kg store pig, while the weighted average for a 7kg weaner rise by 47p to £43.

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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.