Christmas Pigs Cleared

by 5m Editor
28 December 2012, at 10:27am

UK - After a turbulent year pig prices closed on Friday on a relatively quiet note, writes Peter Crichton.

Although the DAPP nudged up a shade and now stands at a record high of 161.02p, as expected all of the big five major shout price buyers remained at stand-on levels with the result that the cast of the nativity play running order remains as follows:

163p Woodhead
160p Gill
159p Tulip, Vion
158p Cranswick.

However those people who sold on the spot market found themselves in a much colder environment with reports of spot bacon being bought in the 153p/kg region and only "regular" spot suppliers were able to get significantly more than this.

This compares with a spot price of 163p/kg at the start of the month representing a value reduction of almost 38 per pig.

On the plus side however, no pigs were held over, slaughter weights are dropping and for once pig traders will be able to open up after Christmas without any rollover pigs clogging up the system.

The same cannot be said for sows with European Union mainland sow meat processors closing down for the holiday period and reports of queues already building up when British cull sow abattoirs get back into business after Christmas, so it may be several weeks before we see a return to normal cull values which a couple of weeks ago were in the 110p/kg region.

With only limited sow numbers being taken an almost universal top price of 100p/kg was being quoted by the big three buyers, but with feed prices where they are it does not always make economic sense to hold and feed sows waiting for the market to recover.

Weaner prices are however continuing to reflect hopes of better finished pig prices in the months ahead and the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average now stands at 346.19/head compared with 339 in mid September.

Although January wheat futures prices slipped by 39.50/t earlier this week, they were up by 33.50/t today and there still seem to be more bulls than bears in this particular market, so producers could be well advised to take cover when the opportunity arises.

A glance back at the year as a whole reveals the following:

Start 2012 Finish 2012
DAPP 147.63p 161.02p
Average spot price 145.00p 156.00p
AHDB weaner price 344.50/head 346.19/head
Ex-farm wheat 3139.80/t 3205.00/t
Euro 83.5p 81.3p
European mainland average producer pig price 125.30p 135.52p

Apart from the rocketing price of feed the other main news of the year was the surprise sale of Vion, but it looks as though subject to Completion Authority approval a management buyout of the pork sector will successfully proceed, which should provide some new impetus into a company that had clearly been flagging at the same time as Tesco (who are often seen as the old enemy) decided to put together a sustainable CoP-related pig meat supply chain.

Hopefully the other big plus will be the upcoming 1 January 2013 European stall ban, providing some of the more responsible retailers insist on having only stalls-free pig meat in their shops.

Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all my readers and let's hope 2013 is the year of the pig rather than a pig of a year!