Contract Sellers Will be Tempted to Send Fewer Pigs

UK - There was something of a gap opening up between the haves and have nots as far as buyers were concerned, writes Peter Crichton.
calendar icon 28 March 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

For those prepared to go the extra mile and get all the pigs they needed, bids tended to be in 155p+ range, whereas contract buyers tended to be operating at a slightly lower level and were not pushing particularly hard for extra spot pigs realising that they were not there in the first place.

With the DAPP continuing to improve and now standing at 142.8p, contract pigs appear much better value compared with spot at the buying end, but producers will be tempted to send only minimum contract numbers and play the spot market with the remainder.

Demand for lighter pigs from the smaller fresh meat wholesalers also met with very little variation in quotes between the different weight ranges.

British abattoirs are still facing a chronic shortage of live pig availability which is the price being paid for last summer’s infertility and further reductions in the size of the national pig herd.

Unfortunately this is forcing some of the larger retailers and pigmeat users to look abroad, but providing the euro stays firm at current levels closing worth circa 93p on Friday, the cost of foreign imports will continue to be well supported.

In mainland Europe pigmeat prices have remained relatively static, although some European Union countries are showing slight improvements as the holiday season approaches. The viability of the British pig industry remains in the hands of the currency speculators and any signs of a sharp drop in the value of the euro will be bad news for the pig business as a whole.

European manufacturing pigmeat values provide a ready barometer of the health of the industry as a whole and cull sow quotes have remained at generally firm but unspectacular levels with United Kingdom export abattoirs generally offering prices in the 120–124p range, but prepared to lift these for larger loads and to secure shrinking numbers.

As previously, the weaner market continues to surge ahead with the AHDB 30kg ex-farm average now quoted at 351.41/head, but in many cases significant premiums are available above this with reports of northern buyers particularly short of stock prepared to bid over 355/head and more in some cases.

One of the regrettable downsides to the recent spell of high weaner prices is the rising number of pig thefts that are occurring throughout many parts of the country, the most recent and blatant of which was a loss of almost 500 weaners circa 11-12kg from Rob Mercer’s outdoor rearing site near the M42 toll road north of Birmingham.

This goes well beyond a few pigs being carried away in a sack by some migrant workers, but is a highly organised theft on a large scale which must involve hauliers/pig producers as well. If you have any clues on who may be responsible please ring Rob Mercer on 07970 174984 or “Pignickers“ at Crimestoppers.

Final reminder for Peter Crichton’s last scheduled auction (for the time being) of pig equipment by direction of W T Pointer and Son at Manor Farm, Sculthorpe near Fakenham.

Further Reading

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