Producers urged to plan ahead amid COVID-19 plant disruption

Pig producers have been urged to keep on top of their weights and to plan for possible disruption, after the pork supply chain was hit by COVID-19 staffing problems.

In its latest weekly market report, Thames Valley Cambac said it became ‘acutely aware of the disruption caused by a plant closure due to coronavirus’.

“This knowledge helped with planning, with contract kill space organised, and any back log cleared,” TVC said.

“It is a stark reminder, however, that these large factories are critically important to the functioning of our market and we urge all our producers to keep on top of your weights, and always plan to have at least a week’s space in reserve.”

The market remained ‘very similar’ last week with decent demand and tight supply. All contract contributions stood on, and the SPP added 0.25p to reach 164.30p.

The fresh meat market stood on, with a touch more interest from some, ‘eyeing up a possible improvement as we get closer to the Bank Holiday’.

However, the picture is marred by the continuing freefall state of the cull sow market. Quotes fluctuated, but eventually settled back 6p to 8p.

“The cause was the continuing squeeze on the continental market for multiple reasons – the closure of foodservice, boning plants shut due to Covid-19, and cold store space prioritised for prime pork rather than processing meat,” TVC said.

“European market quotes steadied a touch after the turmoil of recent weeks, but falls were still recorded in France, Holland and Spain.”

Price comparisons in sterling were enhanced however by a stronger Euro that ended the week up 1.2p at 88.73p.

Demand for weaner was a touch hesitant with some fatteners showing concerns about the future direction of the market. Supplies were plentiful with good runs of 7kgs and 30kgs available.

The AHDB weighted average for a 30kg store pig fell by £2.06 to £59.14, while the weighted average for a 7kg weaner rise by 14p to £42.64.

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 17/05/20 Movement on last week

European Av.              138.61                         + 0.49

Belgium                       111.78                         + 1.52

Denmark                     142.78                         + 1.94

France                         144.18                         – 1.83

Germany                     141.98                         + 1.92

Ireland                         157.95                         + 2.14

Netherlands                 126.01                         – 1.18

Spain                           145.55                         – 1.09

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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.