By Peter Crichton

CULL sow returns have nose-dived with the average sow now worth about 35p/kg deadweight compared with 44p two weeks ago. This latest price values the average sow at no more than 40.

According to cull sow abattoirs this slump has been caused by the lethal combination of a flood of sows into the system throughout the EU and a week Euro which continues to undermine UK export trade.

As a result all three of the major cull sow abattoirs have long waiting lists and some are reported to be putting sow meat into cold storage rather than release it on to an already oversupplies market.

Weaner prices are starting to reflect a general shortage of numbers in the system and this weeks farmers Weekly 30kg ex farm quote of 20.30 indicates better demand from finishers.

This figure shows a rise of 1.84/head over the December average.

On the retail front Signet have published the latest farmgate to retail spread for December.

This shows a high 380% differential compared with 294% in December 1996 but represents a slight fall from the exceptional 413% December 1998 figure.

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