EU weaner prices have dropped by €9 a head (£7) over the past three months, levelling at an average of €43 (£34) in the week to 8 July.
Values had been about €9 above 2011 for most of this year, and reached a peak of nearly €52 (£41) in mid-April, the highest level since 2004. This reflected increased demand for weaners, due to some breeding units switching to finishing pigs, said a report by AHDB Meat Services.
However, while the market was following the traditional seasonal pattern of peaking in the spring before dropping over the summer and autumn, the downward shift had been accelerated by rising feed prices, it added. “This is impacting on the profitability of finishers and limiting the number of pigs they are willing to take on, and the price that they are prepared to pay.”
With a further rise in feed prices leading to even higher production costs in the UK, finishers had cut average 30kg weaner values to £40.83 in the week to 21 July. That was 54p down on the week, following a £1 drop the previous week, and about £5 below the same time last year.