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A Few More Green Shoots

by 5m Editor
7 March 2011, at 8:17am

UK - With spring approaching a few more green shoots are starting to reappear as far as pig prices are concerned, but there is still a long way to go before we have anything that resembles a sustainable plant.

Although the DAPP took another small downward stumble to close at 134.7p the big four players all held their squeak prices at similar levels, but hopefully these will soon become a murmur and then a shout in the weeks ahead.

Most spot buyers were persuaded to pay an extra copper or two and 130p represented a realistic base price, although later in the day spot quotes of 131–133p were circulating, but the market still remains oversupplied with meat and we really need another two to three weeks of firmer retail demand to eat up the surplus.

Signs are continuing to emerge of better pigmeat prices in Europe despite the recent termination of aid to private storage and for the first time for many years European Union and United Kingdom pig prices are almost in step.

This firmer trend was also reflected in the cull sow market where more competition is emerging between the two main players and quotes on a delivered basis between 94–96p were available for large loads and in the 90p region from collection centres or ex-farm.

A further slight weakening in the value of the pound saw the euro close on Friday worth 86p compared with 85.59p a week ago and this will have the effect of putting up the cost of European Union imports by around 0.4 per cent.

Although cereal markets have recorded some fairly sharp short-term falls over the last two weeks, it has been very much a case of five steps down followed by 2 + 3 steps up, with the result that feed wheat ex-farm quotes are still eye-wateringly high at 3194/tonne in some regions.

It was gratifying to see such a good turnout at the brilliantly organised NPA Downing Street Rally in London on Thursday and despite the current doom and gloom surrounding the industry, to be able to commiserate with other like-minded colleagues in the industry, with general agreement that prices would rise, but this may well be a case of too little, too late, for some.

According to BPEX we need to receive circa 165p to cover feed price rises and it is going to be a long hard slog to persuade the retailers and processors to reflect this.

Despite the problems facing the industry a certain hardcore of pig farmers (you know who you are) managed to drink the Red Lion pub opposite Downing Street almost dry and I am told the takings exceeded those during the Countryside March and the anti-Iraq war protest, so there must still be some money left in the industry!

But once again, with one or two exceptions, the people who are earning (and not losing) money (processors/retailers) were notable by their absence. So much for a united supply chain!