Most Pig Market Tipsters' Predictions Correct

UK - Most of the pig market tipsters were proved correct with their predictions that demand would hold at stand-on levels despite the public sector strike next Wednesday hitting slaughter throughputs while meat inspectors have the day off, writes Peter Crichton in his Traffic Lights commentary for 25 November.
calendar icon 28 November 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

The DAPP continues to nudge ahead and rose this week by 0.23p to stand at 147.48p and all of the shout prices remained unchanged, so the league table reads as follows:

Equal 1st Gills, Woodhead 148p
Next Tulip 146p
Last Cranswick, Vion 145p

Although one or two spot buyers were suggesting they would like to buy pigs at a shade less money, as it turned out for those sellers with strong nerves stand-on was available across the board and there were very few reports of any actual price reductions, also reflecting some of the bigger players operating this Saturday confirming that the pigs are wanted, which is often not the case in the run-up to Christmas.

Most spot bacon was traded in a very tight 148p–150p band according to specification and some of the fresh meat wholesalers were also more active and prepared to pay 4p–8p premiums for lighter types.

The rather lacklustre performance of the euro which has remained almost becalmed at 85.63p has done nothing to check the continuing upward rise in cull sow bids with 1p–2p more available from most of the big players and as a result 120p is now achievable, but still a fairly wide variation in net return according to specification and killing-out percentages.

Higher cull prices are not only pointing to better European Union mainland pigmeat prices but also allow producers to replace ageing sows with gilts, but not at 1.5 gilts per sow as one breeding company reminded me after last week's Commentary! Perhaps they are not making enough of their cull sows?

The weaner market continues to recover albeit slowly with the latest Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 30kg ex-farm weaner average now quoted at 342.25/head, but premiums of 33- 35 above this are available for spot weaners and much more interest is being shown in 7kg weaners which will not be hitting the market until early spring when finished pig prices are forecast to rise.

Another plus for hard-pressed pig producers has been the continuing fall in cereal prices with the latest ex-farm feed wheat quote slipping again to 3136/tonne, which compares with 3190/tonne at the start of the year and comes as something of a late Christmas present for the industry as a whole.

But the futures market has recovered marginally with the January LIFFE wheat quote now at 3142/tonne and May at 3143.50/tonne. So producers should keep an eagle eye on this market ready to swoop when the time is right.

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