Pig prices have remained remarkably stable so far this year, despite recent falls, according to figures from the Meat and Livestock Commission.

The DAPP at the end of September stood at 103.9p compared with 99.51p a year earlier. It reached 106p by April and has only eased by 2p since then.

This has bucked seasonal trends, which normally see the price fall in July and rise again in the autumn..

The current average mainland producer price is quoted at €1.35 (92p/kg) compared with €1.44 (97p/kg) in July.

This downward trend in pigmeat values is also being reflected in the cull sow market, where abattoirs are now quoting 70–74p/kg compared with over 80p/kg in the spring.

Weaner values have however remained relatively firm throughout the year, rising from an ex-farm average of £31.88 in January to about £35/head in April, only easing slightly in September.

The value of the euro has also remained stable, opening on 3 October at 67.9p compared with 68.4p twelve months ago.

Feed wheat values are showing a firmer trend at £61.30/t now compared with £57.20 a year ago.

Soya quotes have followed, with Hi Pro spot quotes at £159/t reflecting a rise of £7/t compared with the September 2004 figure.

Providing that reports of better conception rates and lower mortality can be maintained, the outlook is for a relatively firm final quarter of the year.

But with production costs of close to £1/kg deadweight, profits for all but the top performing units will at best remain marginal.