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Thank You (You Know Who You Are)

by 5m Editor
24 October 2009, at 9:25am

UK - The queue of unsold spot pigs may be getting slightly shorter due to the major efforts made by some of the more helpful abattoirs out there who were prepared to up their kills and still pay a reasonably fair price (you know who you are), writes Peter Crichton.

Although we are far from out of the woods, the onset of colder weather should check growth rates and help to stimulate retail demand coupled with a mini-rally in the value of the euro which closed on Friday worth 91.8p compared with 90p earlier on the week.

Although the DAPP is likely to follow its downward track in the weeks ahead and dropped this week by just over 1p to 145.49p, the plain facts are that until the gap narrows between British and mainland European Union pig prices, imports will continue to undercut the domestic market hitting British supplies in the run up to Christmas.

As a result most spot bacon was traded in the 130–136p range according to specification, but reports were received of some other opportunist buyers offering as low as 120p at the start of business and 126p later on.

Lighter weight pigs continue to earn a modest premium and selling at slightly lower weights represents a sensible option for producers to avoid having too many heavy pigs round their necks at Christmas.

European Union mainland pigmeat prices remain under pressure and this is reflected by slightly easier quotes in the cull sow market, although these remain relatively buoyant due to the three major export abattoirs all looking to maintain their volumes.

Cull sow quotes remain in a fairly narrow range with a benchmark price of 110p with the usual premiums available for larger loads, but producers are advised to check if bids received are on a flat rate or weight-related basis and to compare killing out percentages.

The weaner market continues to reflect something of a two-tier trade with a relatively firm demand for 7kg pigs because these will not hit the market as finishers for another 4–6 months, whereas 30kg weaners will be coming up during the festive period when we as we all know Christmas is time for giving (cheap pigs) and receiving (a poorer price).

One of the downsides of the weakness of sterling is filtering through to the grain markets where prices have generally nudged upwards with ex-farm feed wheat now quoted at circa £94/tonne, but still a “buy” at these levels.