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If This is a Sign of Things to Come, Roll on 2010

by 5m Editor
2 January 2010, at 3:48pm

UK - According to Peter Crichton, pig traders had to remember that Friday came on Thursday this week due to the New Year's Day hangover holiday, but if today’s prices are a sign of things to come, roll on 2010!

A recovery in the value of the DAPP provided the first indication that prices might be on the turn for the first time since the end of July when the DAPP stood at 155.57p and has slipped all the way down to 138.5p, but the latest quotation saw the DAPP rising a shade to 138.77p.

This upward movement was however multiplied by over twenty-fold in the spot market where bids had improved by up to 6p/kg in some quarters.

It is always a good sign for sellers when buyers start sniffing around mid-week and bids of around 134p were available on Tuesday/Wednesday, but by Thursday some outlets were prepared to pay a further 2–3p above this, although in some cases on a much tighter spec, but average quotes in the region of 136p were available by Thursday afternoon.

Some processors put the rise down to buyers filling their cupboards after the Christmas/New Year break and commented that once adequate supplies were back in the system we could see prices level out or even ease back again, but hopefully the latter will not be the case.

Lighter weight pigs are also continuing to earn a useful premium from high street retail outlets with cutters quoted at 140p-plus.

A glance across the Channel however reveals a somewhat different trading picture with most European Union pig prices still under pressure where better demand has yet to kick in.

The import/export balance has not been helped by a recent recovery in the value of the pound, which means that the euro is now only worth 88.8p compared with 90p at Christmas and a whopping 96p at the start of 2009.

As expected cull sow prices have remained at similar levels and although one or two very low prices in the 90–93p/kg region were quoted, now that European cull sow processors are looking for bigger numbers even if they are not prepared to pay more money, this meant that sellers with larger loads were able to obtain prices of 95p plus from some outlets.

The weaner market remains relatively buoyant perhaps signalling better times to come for finished pigs in the spring, although no AHDB price is quoted as they had all gone home early today.

As far as the pig industry is concerned, my crystal balls are revealing a reasonably positive picture for 2010, but we must never forget that when compared with beef and lamb, pork is still an extraordinary bargain and if only we could persuade Tesco and Asda to provide better support for the United Kingdom welfare-friendly product, we could look forward to a reasonably sustainable future at a time when major reinvestment is needed in many of our worn-out pig units. The same applies to many of the people who run them as well.

This East Anglian pig farmer decided to take the staff from his indoor unit for a day out at Southwold by the sea as a treat, but some of them were overcome and fainted due to a sudden influx of fresh air and it took several buckets of slurry to bring them round! Boom Boom!