Staffing shortages, pig backlogs and falling prices add up to another tough week

Ongoing staffing shortages in pork processing plants, a growing backlog on farms and falling prices have added up to another tough week with little optimism to report, according to Thames Valley Cambac.

“Staffing levels remained the major issue and were blamed for the continued inadequate allocations from many processors. Pigs continued to back up, with worrying reports of farms at capacity,” TVC said in its latest market update.

The backlog was highlighted by the latest SPP report which showed the lowest sample size of the year at 70,400 head and the average sample weight increased by 1.2kgs to 88.4 kgs – a 6 month high.

Contract prices continued to fall with weekly contributions down 1p to 2p. The fresh meat market was steadier with reports of cheap imports taking market share.

The cull sow market is also struggling as exporters are facing a limited market in the EU – the upshot was another curtailed kill, with prices down a further 3p.

European markets saw large falls with Belgium back 9 eurocents and Germany falling another 5 eurocents. Price quotes in sterling were enhanced slightly by a stronger Euro that ended the week up 0.14p at 85.84p.

The backlog in slaughtering is having a major detrimental effect on the weaner market, with many moves now
delayed or cancelled due to yards and buildings not being cleared. There were no quoted prices issued by

European Prices (p/kg.dwt) w/c 05/09/21   Movement on last week

GB SPP                                  158.70             – 0.55

Tribune Spot Bacon                155.77             – 0.97

European Av.                          116.66             – 2.12

Belgium                                   89.19               – 7.57

Denmark                                 100.35             – 2.15

France                                     138.37             + 0.05

Germany                                 107.30             – 4.11

Ireland                                     139.06             + 0.22

Holland                                    106.70             + 0.17

Spain                                       135.97             – 0.90

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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.