FALLING FEED prices may have helped pig margins but the meat market is following a similar downward trend.

EU pig meat reference prices have lost about 8% in value since September and the GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price (DAPP) has dropped from 108.8p in May to 100.04p/kg now.

GB contract and spot prices often decline during the run up to Christmas and recover in the spring.

If this trend is repeated markets are likely to be in the 95-100p/kg range for the remainder of the year. 

With the latest Meat and Livestock Commission cost of production figure standing at 97p/kg per baconer sold, profitability during the second half of the year will not match the better returns seen between January and June.

In an effort to boost GB prices and compete with cheaper imports the National Pig Association is promoting its PorkWatch campaign. 

PorkWatch is designed to persuade retailers to agree to a 100% British fresh pork policy.

PorkWatch chairman Richard Lister has commended Budgens and the Co-op for their strong use of the British Quality Standard Mark (QSM).

Of the larger retailers Asda has been selected as a consistent supporter of the QSM.

But PorkWatch is concerned that Tesco‘s use of the QSM on fresh pork is continuing to decline, possibly leading to increased sales of imported pork.

It has reported the same drop in QSM use at Sainsburys.

The NPA is concerned that the high welfare and production standards associated with the QSM are not necessarily receiving the full support of two of the country‘s largest retailers.