By Joanna Newman

THE price rally that pig producers so desperately needed finally arrived at the start of the year and values continue to soar.

Bad weather in the USA is making it harder for pig farmers to deliver market-ready animals to the slaughterhouses and this has helped drive up packers bids for live pigs.

The availability of cheaper feed has lent further support to pig values. This weeks collapse in soya-meal prices and the devaluation of the Brazilian currency has had a positive knock-on effect on US pig prices.

Political intervention by the Clinton administration has also helped turn sentiment in the pig industry around.

The Chicago February lean hog futures contract settled on Wednesday (13 January) at 40.15¢/lb (53.3p/kg), down 1.05¢ from Tuesday but still up from just over 30¢ at the start of the month.

Encouraging though this may be, prices are still a mere half of their level last summer.

The National Pork Producers Council argues that the crisis is far from over and is pushing for more federal aid for its beleaguered members.

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