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We Should All Send Them Lighter

by 5m Editor
14 February 2011, at 4:52am

UK - Although the DAPP continues to ease and dropped 0.75p to 135.57p the big four announced stand-on weekly prices, which means that Morrisons are still leading the field at 139p and Vion continue to bring up the rear at 133p, writes Peter Crichton.

Spot buyers were scarce with more than enough pigs to go round due to several abattoir machinery breakdowns during the week (nervous breakdowns for farmers are to follow) and just enough pigs being rolled into next week to take the edge off any long-standing price improvements.

As a result most spot quotes tended to be around the 124p mark for heavy bacon with slightly lighter weights or tighter spec pigs trading between 126–128p.

Smaller wholesalers are still paying much better prices for lighter pigs than their heavier counterparts, but are unfortunately only taking relatively low numbers due to indifferent high street demand, but light weights are earning premiums of between 6–10p and might be worth considering with feed prices going through the roof.

With wheat continuing to nudge ahead over the 3200/tonne mark and forward quotes as far ahead as harvest 2012 of around 3170/tonne ex farm, the stage is set for dear feed prices in the months and perhaps years ahead.

One switched-on producer suggested that if everyone dropped their slaughter weights by say 5kg, not only would this lead to a saving of scarce feed reserves, but this would also take 600 tonnes of pigmeat per week off the market and by reducing weights and probes would help the DAPP and other index prices to either stop falling or rise. Very much a case of less is more.

The cull sow market has now made up all the ground lost in the January dioxin scare and although opening bids of circa 90–92p were offered for large loads on a delivered basis, those who were prepared to hold out for a better price were able to achieve up to 95p/kg deadweight with smaller loads via collection centres around the 90p/kg mark.

Weaner numbers seem to be slightly tighter and although this is yet to reflect in the latest Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 30kg average of 341.14/head, there were a few more buyers cautiously looking but often in the bargain basement section, although some of the effects of the arctic weather are now starting to be felt in the supply chain which may help to improve finished pig demand later on in the spring.

All in all a disappointing day for sellers and as one trader said to me today, we need to see at least 25p go onto the finished pig price by April or many of his customers will be forced to hit the stop button.