RECENT RISES in cull sow values are being reflected by upward trends in EU wide pig meat values.
In the week ending Fri, Sept 17, these averaged 101.33p/kg.
With the exception of GB, Denmark and Spain, all EU pig production country prices are now over 100p/kg, with the influential German market heading the field at 110.86p/kg.
The Meat and Livestock Commission has also recently announced changes in the way that it calculates UK pig meat reference prices.
This is due to the revision of the lean meat co-efficient equation which has been in place in this country since the 1990s.
Increases in GB carcass weights and changes in genotypes have meant that previous co-efficients for estimating lean percentages are no longer appropriate.
Under the new co-efficient 74% of GB pigs in the September sample recorded a lean meat percentage of over 60%.
If the old co-efficient had been used less than half of the sample would have achieved more than 60% lean meat.
These changes will reduce the UK average reference price for early September to 97.57p/kg. Using the old co-efficient this price would have been 100.46p/kg.
As a result the gap between UK and EU reference prices will narrow.
Member states send their own reference prices to the EU which are then used on a weighted basis to monitor pig meat price trends and can trigger market support measures such as Private Storage Aid.
Although the revision of the lean meat co-efficient will not alter the way in which the GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price (DAPP) is calculated, it will have the benefit of providing a more accurate comparison between UK and EU pig meat prices.
Better European prices were reflected throughout the GB spot market for pig supplies in the week commencing Mon, Sept 20.
Spot bacon quotes have risen by 6-8p/kg over the past four weeks, with most trades now in the 98-102p bracket.
Although the DAPP slipped a further 0.63p to 99.38p this week, traders believe that it will soon stabilise after three months of falls.
Cull sow prices are still rising with 84-86p/kg readily available, helped by the relative stability of the Euro, which opened on Sept 20 at 67.9p.