Staffing issues and plant breakdowns continue to hit Christmas production

Processing capacity at pork plants remained below usual levels last week, as any hope of a Christmas boost was dashed by continuing staffing issues, and plant breakdowns, according to Thames Valley Cambac.

“Prices fell again, on the back of apparent poor demand,” TVC said in its latest weekly update. “Some with weekly contributions took advantage and announced 2p to 3p lower – little justification except that they could.

“The backlog of pigs ready for slaughter continued to grow, with most producers reporting excellent growth – average weights still at near record levels.”

TVC reported that fresh meat sales were ‘disappointing for this time of year’, with many outlets blaming the new Covid Tier system for thwarting high street footfall.

The cull sow market stood on pricewise but supplies remained tight. European markets were similar, with Denmark the only riser, but price quotes in sterling were enhanced by a rise in the Euro, up 0.84p at 90.28p.

The backlog of slaughter pigs is having a severe impact on some weaner movements as units are falling out of synch with weaner fill dates. Supplies were ample for demand, and most prices with a weekly element fell.

AHDB gave no quote given for a 30kg store pig, with the weighted average for a 7kg weaner quoted at £39.56.

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 06/12/20    Movement on last week

European Av.                          116.87             + 1.24

Belgium                                   83.25               + 0.77

Denmark                                 115.23             + 3.57

France                                    130.55             – 0.22

Germany                                 107.44             + 1.00

Ireland                                     142.83             + 1.33

Holland                                    106.80             + 0.99

Spain                                       131.99             + 1.24

(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.