Prices on a Plateau

by 5m Editor
14 November 2011, at 5:50am

UK - It is quite a while since I wrote "prices are on a plateau". The only difficulty is working out where the plateau actually lies, between the top and the bottom of the pig market cliff, writes Peter Crichton in his latest Traffic Lights commentary.

The DAPP rose by a relatively modest 0.45p this week and now stands at 146.73p, although many felt the rise should have been greater reflecting significant improvements in shout and spot prices the previous week.

Tulip however set the tone for the industry as a whole by standing-on and all of the other shout price operators followed suit, but large numbers of pigs were sold for next week with very few reports of pigs being rolled and hopefully there will be fewer abattoir breakdowns next week, to keep the numbers flowing.

The league table for next week reads, as Christmas looms —

Equal 1. Gills and Woodhead 148p.
Next Tulip 146p.
Last Cranswick and Vion 145p.

As a result spot bacon was generally traded in the 147p–150p range according to specification, but the smaller fresh meat buyers are still reporting quiet times on the high street, so once again demand was focused at the heavier baconweight end of the trade.

After all the political and financial turmoil in the eurozone and Italy in particular, it was a relief to see the euro settle down after a rollercoaster week, closing on Friday worth 85.6p compared with 85.83p a week earlier.

Plenty of competition in the sow sector with dwindling numbers means this remains very much a sellers' market with prices generally at positive stand-on levels and an odd extra penny available in places where buyers were short of numbers, but still a fairly wide variation in prices according to spec and killing-out percentages and any sellers who took less than 116p undersold their sows with up to 120p available for large loads, but on a tighter spec.

The weaner market remains the Cinderella of the pig industry with an ongoing lack of finisher space and as a result the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 30kg ex-farm weaner average has remained becalmed at 341.28/head despite generally easier feed prices with ex-farm wheat traded at 3144 per tonne and futures prices for early 2012 also showing an easier trend.