SIGNS OF better UK pig meat prices combined with lower production costs are emerging after a disappointing summer.

The GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price (DAPP) slipped from 109.5p/kg in early June to 101.33p for the week ending Aug 28.

And spot bacon prices fell by 12p/kg over the same period, to 94p – equivalent to £8.50/head.

But average mainland European deadweight prices have risen from just 89p/kg 12 months ago, to 99.27p now.

Cull sow values have also staged significant gains, rising from 60p in Sept 2003 to 80p/kg now, indicating better demand for pig meat throughout Europe.

Although the Euro has fallen by 1.3% against the Pound since Sept 2003 it is improving in value and opened on Mon, Sept 6 at 67.8p.

Pig meat imports have undercut the UK market for many years but the position is now being reversed. 

Prices in Germany, Belgium and France are now ahead of average quotes in the UK before grading and abattoir deductions are taken into account.

Threats of disruption to EU pig meat exports to the valuable Russian market have also been lifted following settlement of a long running dispute over veterinary certificates for live and dead pig meat supplies.

EU and Russian negotiators have now agreed that a notifiable disease outbreak such as foot-and-mouth or Classical Swine Fever will no longer automatically block exports from the whole of that country or from the remainder of the EU.

Pig meat exports to Russia are reported to be worth over €1 billion (£679m) on an annual basis. 

This market provides a valuable outlet for manufacturing grade pig meat which is often hard to sell within the EU.

Meanwhile, UK producers will also benefit from much lower feed costs, with feed wheat selling at about £60/t ex-farm compared with £83/t12 months ago.