By Peter Crichton

The UK pig price rally has started to falter, despite forecasts of buoyant returns this spring and summer.

Despite the UK AESA climbing 1.5p to 80.13p/kg for the week ending 20 March, spot prices have started to fade in the run-up to Easter.

Current quotes have seen falls of 6-8p/kg, with most baconers trading between 74 and 80p/kg. This compares with 80p and 88p/kg a week earlier.

Marketeers advise that producers should keep their pigs up to scratch over the two short Easter weeks. They feel that as we move into late April, we should see something of a price recovery.

Weaner prices have also come off the boil, reflecting poorer finished returns. Ex-farm prices for 30kg pigs fall into the £29-£32 range, although availability still remains on the tight side.

Cull sow prices have reacted to lower EU manufacturing demand and plentiful supplies, with deadweight quotes of 50p/kg hard to achieve.

This is equivalent to a mere 31.5p/kg liveweight. This values the average sow at no more than £60 after deductions.

With several of the major UK clearing banks looking to pull in some of their most doubtful loans, the writing is on the wall for many over-borrowed UK pig producers.

Forecasters and the Meat and Livestock Commission may well have to recalculate their original predictions or hope for a crash in the value of the Pound in the next few weeks.