A Sellers' Market is Emerging

by 5m Editor
5 March 2012, at 6:27am

UK - After four months of static or falling pig prices sellers heaved a sigh of relief on Thursday with the news that Tulip had finally decided to put up its shout price by 2p to 137p, although Cranswick is to be congratulated for topping this on Friday by putting its shout up 3p.

So it is no longer in the relegation zone of the league price table which reads as follows:

1. 140p Woodhead.
2. 139p Gill.
3. 138p Cranswick.
4. 137p Tulip, Vion.

With spot buyers already on the prowl mid week looking for extra supplies it was no surprise to see shout prices move up as they did and as in the olden days livestock markets spot buyers still provide a ready barometer of the overall trade, even though they now account for a relatively small proportion of pigs sold.

Shrewd sellers were able to achieve spot bacon quotes in the 140p region and anyone who took less than 139p probably undersold their pigs.

The most interesting statistic of all emerged last week showing that the European Union mainland producer price of 135.71p was actually higher than last week's spot average and this paints a much rosier picture as spring approaches because for once cheap imports are unable to undercut the domestic market to the same extent.

Despite a mini slump in the value of the euro which traded on Friday at 83.29p compared with 84.87p a week ago, cull sow quotes have remained firm and in some cases canny sellers were able to grab an extra copper or two with the three main export buyers still keen on upping their volume and sows were generally quoted within a fairly wide 120p – 126p region according to region and specification, but those with larger loads tended to get towards the top end of this range.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development BoardY 30kg ex-farm average which remains heavily influenced by the DAPP as far as many contract weaner values are concerned remains marooned at 344.67/head, although spot trades are reported to be 32- 34 ahead of this in some places, but finished pig prices will need to rise to compete with much higher feed costs to allow finishers to make a profit if weaners become any more expensive than this.

Cereal prices seem to have levelled out with ex-farm feed wheat quoted at 3160.50/t and futures quotes for July largely unchanged in the 3168/t region.

And finally now might be the time for everyone involved in the pig industry to pause to reflect on the tragic death of East Harling pig producer Stephen Brown and the shattering effect this has had on his family and loyal friends as well as the depth of feeling throughout the industry which was demonstrated by over 500 people who attended his memorial service today.