Bacon prices sizzle in the heat

PIG PRICES in the UK and throughout most of the EU have remained remarkably firm, despite the recent heatwave.

The normal seasonal trend is for prices to plunge as temperatures rise but this has certainly not been the case in 2005.

EU pigmeat producer prices have continued to improve, with the mainland average touching 97p/kg compared with 82p/kg in mid-April.

The GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price (DAPP) has also held its value and is quoted at 106.08p for pigs sold the week commencing 27 June.

At the same time, average weekly pig slaughterings are continuing to decline.

The latest DEFRA figures quote a weekly UK average for May of 166,000 head compared with 173,000 at the start of the year.

Sow cullings have also fallen by 5% to an average of just 4,000 per week, flagging up further reductions in the overall size of the UK breeding herd.

The value of UK pigmeat will continue to be influenced by currency fluctuations.

Although the euro has fallen by 7% in value since the year began, it is close to its June 2004 level at 66.5p.

Providing that there is no mid/late summer collapse in EU pigmeat prices, the outlook for UK producers remains positive.

The recent heatwave has yet to have much impact on the grain market despite forecasts of lower yields.

Spot prices for feed wheat remain in the £63.50/t ex farm region with forward quotes a modest £2 – £4/t above this off the combine.