Problems mount on farms as processors suggest staffing issues could persist

Farmers are experiencing problems on farm for the third week in a row as staffing problems continue to hit processors, who are warning that the situation could persist for months.

Last week proved to be another difficult one as processors were unable to take their contracted volumes, due mainly to a lack of staff in the butchery areas, according to Thames Valley Cambac.

“This is the third week in a row now and many farms are experiencing stocking problems as a result. One of the majors has suggested this could continue for weeks, perhaps months,” TVC said in its latest weekly update.

However, despite suggestions from some processors that they were struggling to meet supermarket demand, TVC said the latest HMRC import/export figures suggest exports had increased
and imports decreased, which suggests the opposite.

“Other than fifth quarter we are told there is very little primal product leaving the UK for China.  Apparently, given the price available for China, this would result in processors losing money with the pig price at its current level,” TVC said.

Aggravating all of this is the fact that EU pork is currently more than 30p/kg cheaper. “We are also reliably informed that stocks in cold stores have increased all of which led to some processes taking some money out of their announced price elements,” TVC added.

The one positive for the week is the cull sow demand was relatively good yielding a stand-on with the price. European markets pretty much stood on, although in sterling terms they were down due to the Euro, ending the week down 0.40p at 85.14p.

Weaner demand was sketchy at best with even the most reliable movements subject to change. Supplies of both 7kgs weaners and 30kg stores were ample, and forward forecasts suggest little change.

The AHDB quoted a 7kg weaner at £39.75, but there were no price quote for a 30kg store.

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 01/08/21  Movement on last week

GB SPP                                  160.90             + 0.24

Tribune Spot Bacon                160.36             – 0.94

European Av.                          124.99             – 1.87

Belgium                                   101.74             – 1.60

Denmark                                 113.32             – 2.85

France                                     137.42             – 0.65

Germany                                 120.90             – 0.57

Ireland                                     143.98             – 0.68

Holland                                    114.85             – 2.69

Spain                                       146.62             – 4.01

(Ref Weekly Tribune)

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About The Author

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.