By Peter Crichton

UK finished pig prices have followed their usual seasonal pattern during the holiday season, with both spot and contract prices easing.

The UK AESA lost ground again and slipped by a further 1.28p to stand at 105.4p.

With several large abattoirs dropping their prices to below 100p/kg, this price is forecast to fall further in the weeks ahead. Avonmore and Dalehead have reduced their quotes to between 96p and 97p and other major buyers are expected to follow.

Malton has reduced its kill by 20%, which will also put extra pigs into the system during the holiday period.

Spot traders are bidding up to 108p for cutters, whereas most Spot baconers will be hard put to hold at 1.00/kg.

The reasons are the usual cocktail of challenges according to pig traders.

Imports are continuing to penetrate the domestic market and, now that large numbers of Dutch pigs are free of foot-and-mouth restrictions, imports from Holland to the UK are rising.

Latest statistics, for week 27, show that almost 3000 tonnes of pigmeat was imported, which is equivalent to 41,000 live pigs, almost 20% of the UK kill.

The low value of the Euro continues to undermine the UK pig market; with Euro1 worth only 61.7p, importers will continue to operate competitively.

Dutch and Danish prices are still lower than those in the UK – between 84p and 93p/kg deadweight – and none of the major EU pig-producing countries are trading above 1.00/kg.

The UK Industry continues to suffer from the glut of sow meat on the market.

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

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