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Only 20 Slaughtering Days to Christmas

by 5m Editor
14 November 2009, at 8:41am

UK - As predicted the recent slide in spot pig values has levelled out and although there was very little evidence of buyers paying much more, no cases were reported of any further drops with spot prices in the 125–129p range according to specification with a copper or two more available for Freedom Food pigs or lighter weights, writes Peter Crichton.

The DAPP has continued its relentless downward track and now stands at 140.83p, which is 15p down ( 312/pig) compared with its value last July.

The DAPP as a pricing mechanism remains a talking point within the industry and although BPEX director Mick Sloyan restated that the DAPP is intended to provide a historical benchmark of prices paid and is not designed to be used for price setting, we all know this is not the case with most finished pigs and weaner contracts having a significant DAPP element and the same also applies to some pig unit rents and bonus payments.

One way to defeat claims by abattoirs that the DAPP is not representative is for more of them to contribute and it is good to note that Gills of Wolverhampton has now joined and hopefully others will follow perhaps leading to a DAPP sample of formula and weekly priced pigs.

A recent bottoming out of pig prices in Europe has also helped to put trading onto a slightly firmer note, although anxious glances at the calendar reveal that there are now only four clear trading weeks (20 slaughtering days) between now and the Christmas shutdown.

The message remains the same and producers are advised to keep on top of their pigs and weights as much as possible, although from time to time there can be a last minute rally in the last few days before Christmas, but this is something of a risky bet in horse racing terms.

The euro has also eased slightly in value which is not helping as far as imports are concerned and closed on Friday worth 89.3p, down a gnat’s whisker compared with a week ago.

Cull sow prices were generally at stand-on levels with average quotes remaining in the 105–108p range, but numbers still on the tight side; hence British prices are better than equivalent European Union net values.

Some stability is also returning to the weaner market where the latest 30kg AHDB average is quoted at 348.40/head and a few more buyers are emerging in the market, especially as far as 7kg pigs are concerned which will not hit the finishing pig market until February/March when prices normally start to rise.

John Clarke and Ray Pilgrim

On a more sombre note the pig industry lost two characters this week with the passing of John Clarke (The Woolpit Whiff) on Tuesday and the sudden death of Ray Pilgrim on, of all days, 13 Friday.

John was well known as one of the largest swill feeders in the country until the May 2001 waste feed ban shut down his pig operation, but carried on rendering in the face of all sorts of local opposition, judicial reviews, High Court cases and the like, despite a severe and progressive disability.

Ray Pilgrim will be remembered as a fearless but fair abattoir operator who probably knew more about the European meat trade than the rest of us put together who worked from dawn to dusk and his presence will be sadly missed.