Monday, 7 January, 2002

By Peter Crichton

IT is now over 90 days since the last recorded foot-and-mouth outbreak – but cull-sow prices have failed to match their pre foot-and-mouth levels.

Latest export quotes have remained at 45p/kg, which values the average 200kg liveweight sow at no more than 55 per head, almost 20 down on 12 months earlier.

Manufacturing pigmeat has also failed to get much of a lift with very few abattoirs actually exporting finished pig cuts due to lower EU prices.

The recent rally in the value of the Euro has also faded slightly with a mid-week high of 63.5p, slipping back to 62.1p.

Any further rises in the Euro will put up the cost of imports and make UK exports more competitive and could provide a lifeline to the domestic pig industry as a whole.

Publication the the latest Farm to Retail Price Spread figures has also highlighted how the producers share of the overall pigmeat price has slipped.

Over the July-October 2001 period the percentage difference between farm gate and retail prices for bacon rose from 342% to 374% and for fresh pork from 216% to 241%.

Signs are emerging that unless producers can bank a break-even price of over 100p/kg, more will leave the industry or will be bought up at rock-bottom prices by some of the larger integrated operators.

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