By Peter Crichton

ANY hopes of a price rally in the pig market early this year will have to be put on hold for the time being as pig marketeers now look at March as the target date for any real sign of an upturn.

Demand from UK abattoirs this week has been dull and current deadweight quotes are “stand on” at best.

Others are following the trend of the UK AESA, which dropped by 0.3p/kg this week to 75.99p – equivalent to 53 net for a 70kg bacon pig.

Although sow cullings have been at high levels in recent months, these have yet to filter through to a meaningful drop in supplies of finished pigs.

Most UK abattoirs are reporting that there are more than enough pigs out there at the moment to meet demand.

However, many concede that by the spring the position could change.

A recent fire at a Norfolk abattoir has also added extra pigs to an oversupplied system.

RS Baker of Dereham saw its 6000-pig-per-week plant completely destroyed by a major fire last weekend.

It is not yet known if this outlet will be rebuilt, but one of the options the company is believed to be looking at is buying an abattoir from one of its competitors.

Weaner prices have remained slightly firmer than finished pigs, despite the negative signals in the meat market.

Most 30kg weaners have traded in the 18-22 range with signs of a further fall in supplies coming forwards helping to maintain ex-farm values.

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