By FWi staff

PIG values are falling throughout the country following reports that one of the countrys biggest deadweight buyers has dropped its prices again.

The Unigate-owned Malton Bacon Factory announced that it was dropping its deadweight price by 3p/kg with immediate effect last Friday (30 July).

Dalehead Foods followed Maltons lead by dropping its prices 2p/kg, bringing the value of a top-grade pig to 83p/kg – 3p below the Adjusted Euro-Spec Average (AESA) price.

The unconfirmed price paid by Malton has now fallen to 78.5p/kg deadweight, 3.5p below the AESA, although top-grade animals could achieve a 4p/kg premium.

The market had shown a modest recovery over the past few months, but many within the industry now expect the AESA to fall again.

Processors claim that a summer slump in demand had caused the latest price drop.

But Graham England, chairman of the NFU pig committee, said UK pig farmers were suffering despite producing better pigs than their European competitors.

UK producers had raised their production specifications but a shortage of pigs was being filled by substandard imported pigmeat, he said.

“But the encouraging thing is while there has been a price reduction the strength of Sterling has weakened against the Euro and Deutschmark – and thats the greatest influence.”

Mr England said that British exports would become more competitive if Sterling weakened.

“Although prices are better than they were six months ago, theyre a long way from making a decent return – or getting any profit,” he added.