By Peter Crichton

IN SPITE of the tragic events in the USA on 11 September, there has been little adverse movement on the EU currency market so far.

The Euro is worth 63p – the same as a year ago.

Imports continue to penetrate the domestic market, although Danish, Dutch, French and Spanish prices are all lining up in the 88p to 102p range and are on a par with UK levels.

Dutch imports are still running at high levels and are equivalent to 32,000 live UK pigs per week.

Chances of a lift in Continental pigmeat prices are starting to fade with the Dutch AEX futures market quotes dropping to the 80p to 83p per kg range for the end of the year.

Hopes still remain for a recovery in UK sow prices but this will depend on some form of export activity restarting.

With Scotland now officially foot-and-mouth-free the NPA are pushing for pigmeat exports to resume.

Export opportunities will have been boosted by the news that the suspected Leicester foot-and-mouth cattle outbreaks were be false alarms.

With the total number of foot-and-mouth outbreaks standing at 2021 and none reported since 12 September pig producers are hoping that the end of the epidemic may be in sight.

However the EU SVC (Standing Veterinary Committee) will need to be convinced that pigmeat exports even on a limited scale will pose virtually no risk to other member states before giving the nod.

Today (17 September) brings a new pig movement licensing system into play with responsibility for all movement licenses shifting from Defra to local trading standards departments.

Producers looking to move store and breeding pigs will still have to arrange vet inspections but the costs of these will now be met by Defra.

Pigs will have to be identified with a marker spray with a three-week life to tie in with the time before any stock can be moved off the recipient holding other that for slaughter.

This represents a climbdown by Defra on earlier plans for all pigs to be tagged.

Longer-distance movements will now have to be undertaken in under nine hours rather than the 250-mile limit proposed earlier.

As before, pigs will not be able to move from “high-risk” or “at-risk” areas into “free” areas.

  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry

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