By Peter Crichton
STERLINGS strength means UK pig producers continue to benefit from the lowest feed prices for many years. But the strong Pound is also applying adverse pressure to the domestic pigmeat market.
Sterling is sucking in pigmeat imports from other EU member countries and making it harder than ever for UK exporters to remain competitive.
The problem has been highlighted by the recent dramatic fall in cull sow prices. Current quotations are as low as 60p/kg deadweight (40p/kg liveweight) compared with 78p/kg at the start of February. This represents an estimated drop of £22 per sow for an average 220kg animal.
Spot quotations remain firm, with spot baconers in the 95 to 100p per kg range, many abattoirs are reporting the threat of imports is starting to undercut the home market.
Live auction returns report higher than expected demand for pigs at the lighter end of the weight range. Porkers are now worth 4-6p/kg more than baconers in some cases.
Contract quotes have maintained their recent improvement. The Adjusted UK Spec GB price for the week ended 14 March was 96.08p.