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A More Positive Feel

by 5m Editor
7 February 2011, at 8:08am

UK - Finished pig prices may at last be on the turn and although there were very few cases of significantly more money being offered, trading had a more positive stand-on feel than a week ago, writes Peter Crichton.

DAPP continues to trickle downwards and lost 0.41p to stand at 136.32p, but thankfully all of the big players followed Tulip's lead by leaving their base prices unchanged.

However this should not be a cause for celebration on this front as feed prices continue to rise with the latest ex-farm feed wheat quotes now standing at 3195/tonne and delivered prices of over 3200/tonne.

For those producers now feeding their pigs at current prices at least 165p/kg is needed to break even compared with the much lower returns now available.

Most spot bacon traded around the 124p mark and contract base prices are anywhere between 139p (Woodhead… mild applause) and 133p (Vion… ouch).

However numbers seem to be tightening and some suggestions are emerging that prices will react accordingly.

The cull sow market has always provided a useful pointer to what may be happening in Europe and it was a relief to note that after several weeks of very poor prices, now that the effects of the dioxin scare are wearing off quotes are continuing to recover and shrewd sellers were able to get bids of up to 90p if they were prepared to haggle.

The euro ended the week worth 84.7p which is almost exactly where it started, but a weaker pound would help the British pig industry no end.

On the other hand the spot weaner market remains highly selective with several loads still looking for homes, although the latest Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 30kg average of 341.16/head relates mainly to contract rather than spot sales which remain at a discount.

On the sugar beet front, plenty of loads are available on a haulage-only basis in East Anglia, but for only a very short period for the next few weeks before they turn to mush.