Herd reductions over the past year or so are now starting to play a part in there being fewer pigs around, resulting in a stark contrast between the latest festive season and the one a year ago, according to Thames Valley Cambac.
“Farm businesses have been able to be better prepared this year for the short festive weeks, while farms are also not having the same backlogs due to losing processing capacity with problems regarding staffing amid Covid infections at processing plants as they did 12 months ago, which had created growing backlogs of pigs,” TVC said in its latest market update.
Average weights in the SPP sample currently are 88.37kgs v 94.12kg same week last year, while the SPP has hit a record high of 201.24p/kg, 60.69p more than a year ago. and is set to rise over the coming weeks with one buyer, Morrisons-Woodheads, putting 10p into their contribution for this week, TVC predicted.
Sows also continue increase from an average of 17p/kg last year to 86p/kg gaining 69p/kg over the year, rising a further 1p this week.
“The impact of numbers tightening v demand over the last few weeks is a situation which has been a long time coming but is now showing signs it’s happening,” TVC added, highlighting recent Defra census figures showing a serious decline in the UK sow herd to 343,000 (-14%) to the end of June 2022.
“We feel that this could erode further towards 320k, having tracked the herds exiting by the Dec 22 round up, and we’re still seeing herds join the list.”
Weaner and store markets are showing more positive signs of interest as overall numbers tighten, and interest levels have increased notably. However, most are still transferred through contract agreements and prices paid will be coming under further scrutiny as businesses continue looking hard at returns, TVC added.
The pig marketing company has also had enquiries from European buyers who say supplies are tight, another situation, it added, not seen for some time.
UK/European Prices (p/kg) w/c 08/01/23 Movement on last week
SPP 201.24 +0.68
Tribune Spot Bacon 204.33 +0.85
European Av. 172.70 +1.11
Belgium 159.70 -0.02
Denmark 142.80 -6.97
France 199.42 +10.30
Germany 176.95 +2.48
Ireland 182.86 -0.93
Holland 159.34 -1.95
Spain 188.45 +2.64
(Ref Weekly Tribune)