Weather Not Helping with Pig Meat Demand

by 5m Editor
7 May 2012, at 10:13am

UK - The recent spell of dull, cold, wet, miserable, gloomy, inclement weather is doing nothing to perk up demand for pig meat at a time of year when the prices normally start to rise as barbecues are fired up on the nation's patios and al fresco eating becomes the norm, writes Peter Crichton.

The DAPP added 0.59p to stand at 146.92p at a time when its future as an index price is under threat from abattoirs who had previously complained it was ahead of the market. The irony is that the DAPP is now 1.28p below the average shout price.

However despite poor retail demand and a short week ahead, prices have held reasonably firm with three of the main shout price buyers following Tulip's example and standing-on and Cranswick putting an extra 1p in the pot and lifting its contract price to 147p to narrow the gap between it and Vion with the rest of the field.

As a result the latest league table standings are now as follows:

150p Woodhead
149p Gill
148p Tulip
147p Vion, Cranswick

Although some spot bacon buyers were suggesting they might trim their bids back by a copper or two, once again the underlying shortage of pigs in the supply chain meant that they had to stand-on to secure the supplies they needed and once we return to a full working week and (hopefully) better weather, demand should pick up.

Most spot bacon was traded at around the 150p mark with small premiums available for lighter weights, but no pigs were reported to have been rolled which might let us start the following week with a clear sheet.

In addition to the unseasonal weather the euro continues to face a crisis of confidence and traded on Friday afternoon worth a mere 81.19p compared with 87.87p a year ago effectively reducing the delivered cost of imported pigmeat by 10 percent compared with 12 months ago.

Cull sow prices also came under pressure because of a mixture of a weaker euro as well as reports of falling pigmeat prices across many of the northern European countries with the result that British cull sow operators pulled their prices back by between 3p–4p/kg with most delivered quotes now between 122p and 125p according to spec.

On the feed price front ex-farm feed wheat is still trading at around 3170/tonne, although futures quotes have eased a shade reflecting higher estimated yields at harvest time and better worldwide cereal availability.

The weaner market remains very much under pressure mainly due to the high cost of feed as well as a lack of any real confidence in pig prices in three months' time with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 30kg ex-farm average weaner price static at a disappointing 345.29/head.

Many pundits are however pointing to a much brighter outlook for GB pig producers once the effects of the European Union mainland stall ban start to bite with signs that pig prices could follow what happened in the egg industry and put a smile back on producers' faces.

It will be interesting to see what the general mood of the industry is for the upcoming Pig and Poultry Fair that takes place at Stoneleigh on the 15-16 May, but "glass half empty" seems to be the current view.