PIGMEAT PRICES in continental Europe have risen, closing the 10-20% discount compared with British prices.

Mainland EU prices are equivalent to 95p/kg, which rises to a par with British producer prices after allowances for lower EU abattoir deductions and higher carcass weights.

The GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price (DAPP) for the week commencing Mon, Nov 22 is 99.95p, and spot prices have been at similar levels. This compares with 107.57p/kg a year ago.

Despite the closure of the price gap, pigmeat imports account for almost 70% of the domestic market and continue to undercut British producer prices.

The UK remains a prime target for loins and other higher value cuts, especially from intensive units in Denmark and Spain where the cost of production is below the 90p/kg threshold.

The National Pig Association has claimed that domestic producers need a premium of at least 10p/kg (£7 per pig) to cover their much higher domestic production and welfare costs.

The Meat and Livestock Commission has recently estimated average production costs of 97p/kg, from farrow to finish baconer. This is almost identical to net producer returns after deductions.

Despite indifferent finished pig returns, the cull sow market remains firm reflecting the relative strength of EU pigmeat prices. Export abattoirs quote prices of 84-86p/kg, helped by a strong euro.

Weaner prices continue to underperform the market with the MLC 30kg average quoted at £30.70/head ex-farm, compared with £34.13 a year ago.