By Peter Crichton

SPOT pigmeat prices remain firm and current baconer quotes are in the 93-97p/kg range, according to quality.

Lighter pigs have now breached to 100p/kg barrier and, with lamb as well as poultry also improving in value, pork products remain competitive in the High Street.

Another better sign for UK producers is on the grain market. Harvest time off the combine quotes for feed wheat and barley are forecast to be a little more than 60/t with ample supplies predicted.

Although soya remains more expensive in the 150+/t range, an overall reduction in the cost of feed will also help producers claw back some of their huge losses.

A typical bacon pig will eat up to 230kg of feed from weaning, and a 5/t reduction in feed prices is worth over 1/pig leaving the farm gate.

A similar 5/t saving on a sow ration also translates to a reduction in production costs of 35p/pig produced.

Finally, takeover and merger rumours continue to circulate in the Cty as far as some of the major players in the pig industry are concerned.

The Unigate share price has closed up at 336p, compared with a 12-month low of 228p, fuelled by possible bid talks.

Associated British Foods have also improved to stand at 399p, 117p better than the worst position in the last year.

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