CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM was the overriding mood among exhibitors and visitors at the British Pig and Poultry Fair at Stoneleigh on May 12 and 13.

Farm building equipment suppliers received a healthy volume of enquiries from producers looking to refurbish or replace pig buildings. 

Stand holders were also encouraged by enquiries from foreign visitors to the fair, including those from new EU member countries and from the Far East.

In the market place pig prices have remained generally unchanged for the week commencing May 17.

The GB Deadweight Average Pig Price (DAPP) eased by 0.06p/kg, to 109.64p/kg, and most spot and contract pig quotes held at similar levels.

European pig prices have also been largely static with the “big six” producing countries‘ averages (excluding GB) equivalent to 83p/kg. 

A slight rise in the value of the Euro, which opened on Monday, May 17 at 68.1p, has also helped to stabilise domestic prices which have been under strong pressure from imports. 

Danish exports to the UK increased by 12.5% on the previous year and pork imports from Holland were almost double over the same period. 

Trade data shows that pork exports from the UK for Jan/Feb were 17% down on the previous year, mainly due to declining cull sow availability.

GB annual slaughter numbers continue to fall, with the Meat and Livestock Commission‘s latest 12-month figures, ending April 2004, equivalent to 174,500 per week, a drop of 5%.

Weaner prices remain affected by high feed costs, with the MLC reporting the average cost of producing 1kg of pig meat is now over 100p/kg deadweight.

The MLC 30kg weaner price has slipped to £34.99/head ex-farm, which in many cases is below cost of production.