By Peter Crichton

SPOT pig prices are stabilising after several weeks of declining returns, and quotes for next week are unchanged to 4p/kg up in areas where abattoirs are starting to run short of pigs.

The imposition of a new 6000 square mile “red box” in the north of England may also help shorten supplies of finished pigs and improve demand.

The UK AESA fell by 1.28p/kg this week and now stands at 93.9p/kg deadweight whereas spot quotes for baconers are now 2-4p/kg ahead of this in most regions.

Lighter pigs are also attracting a ready demand. Up to 108p/kg is quoted for premium quality 55-65kg gilts with most medium weight cutters traded between 98p and 104p/kg.

But reports of a new price war between Asda and other major retailers may lead to producer prices being held back.

Imported Belgian pigs are selling at almost 100p/kg deadweight and are reported to be earning their producers profits of up to 30p/kg due to lower welfare standards.

UK production costs are almost 100p/kg, and with PDNS and PMWS this can rise by a further 10%, says Signet.

Demand for weaners remains selective because of a lack of space on finisher units, with most farm-assured 30kg pigs traded in the 26-30/head range and 7kg types between 19 and 23.50/head.

Feed prices are still rising, with feed wheat trading at 75-82/t. Cheap wheat imports may help to cap UK prices, but the value of the Euro remains critical.

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

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