By Peter Crichton

Prospects for the UK pig industry have improved significantly in recent weeks, but prices in Europe are moving in the opposite direction.

Dutch AEX pig futures are between 79p and 80p/kg for November to February, and Spanish pigs are trading as low as 84p/kg, undermining prices in other EU countries.

Failing a revival in the Euro or EU pigmeat prices as a whole, prospects in the UK will continue to be overshadowed by imports.

However, lower European prices could lead to a resumption of exports to Russia and other “third countries”, which could put a bottom in the market.

Meanwhile, Grampian Country Foods Group has at last announced its purchase of Uniq offshoot Malton Foods, for 33.5 million.

This will provide Grampian with the largest weekly kill capacity in the UK and the company will be able to handle 50,000-60,000 pigs; 25% of the weekly kill.

Although one major competitive buyer has now left the industry, Grampian has a good reputation as a producer-orientated company prepared to look at cost of production and other “safety net” type contracts to obtain continuity of supply in the future.