Subdued Demand for Pig Meat

by 5m Editor
14 May 2012, at 6:10am

UK - A combination of indifferent retail demand not helped by the recent inclement weather and the falling value of the euro has conspired to put a lid on the early summer price rise that we normally see this time of year, although the DAPP managed to rise to 148.21p, writes Peter Crichton.

Retailers are reporting a subdued demand for pig meat, lamb and beef and the same pattern is being reflected in the catering sector.

With household budgets under pressure it should come as no surprise that this is having adverse effect on meat prices, but once the sun starts shining and the European Football Championships kick off there is every reason to suggest that pig meat demand should improve throughout Europe.

Although some sellers had hoped for a "Pig Fair Penny" this was not to be as far as shout prices were concerned with Tulip electing to stand-on and all of the other major players following suit, so the league table remains unaltered as follows:

1. 150p Woodhead
2. 149p Gill
3. 148p Tulip
4. 147p Vion and Cranswick

Spot bacon was generally traded at around the 148p–150p mark according to specification, but on a more positive note no pigs have been rolled this week and everything has found a home, albeit at a price that many producers feel is out of line with their production costs.

More Eurozone turmoil has meant a weaker euro which traded on Friday worth 80.4p compared with 81.19p a week ago which makes pig meat imports even more competitive on the domestic market and cull sow values drop.

As a result the big three cull sow buyers all reduced their prices by around 3p, not just because of currency fluctuations, but also reflecting indifferent pig meat demand across much of Europe.

Most cull sow abattoirs were paying in the 118p–122p region on a delivered basis, but are keeping a wary eye on the German market where some of their larger customers are cutting back on their orders and prices.

The weaner market is also continuing to suffer from high feed prices as well as a significant lack of finishing places with the result that the latest Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 30kg ex-farm average weaner price has slipped again and now stands at 345.24/head and finishing space is reported to be very hard to find.

Signs of better pig prices in the weeks ahead might help to revive buyers' spirits, but at the moment this remains very much a sellers' market.

Although feed prices have remained largely unchanged over the week they are still too expensive as far as pig producers are concerned with May LIFFE wheat quoted at 3174.50/tonne, although November is showing a slightly easier trend at 3148.50/tonne.

With pig and feed prices at their current levels unfortunately it looks as though this year's Pig and Poultry Fair which takes place at Stoneleigh on the 15-16 May may be a slightly subdued affair, although it is amazing how life can look better after a few glasses of somebody else's beer!