Cold weather gives pig market a boost

Arctic weather conditions throughout much of the UK and parts of the EU have brought benefits to the pigmeat market.

Retailers report better demand for roasting joints and casseroles during periods of cold weather. 

As a result pork, lamb and beef consumption has risen and prices are firmer than they were a month ago.

UK Pigmeat supplies have however remained at similar levels.

Better demand in many EU countries and rising sales to Russia are all helping to deplete stocks of pigmeat, which normally overhang the market at this time of year.

Colder weather will also reduce growth rates and slow down the supply of finished pigs, helping to improve prices.

But better demand could also lead to an increase in imports which already account for over 60% of pork, bacon and ham consumption in the UK.

Back fat measurements will fall during times of cold weather improving average producer prices.

This trend was confirmed by a study from the Meadow Quality Marketing Group, which compared back fat measurements and temperatures since the start of the year.

P2 measurements varied between 9.3 and 10.1mm, with the lowest back fat measurements recorded when temperatures fell below the monthly norm. 

Back fat levels rose during the autumn when temperatures were over two degrees higher than the normal monthly average.

Although forecasts of a cold winter will bring problems with frozen pipes on outdoor units, leaner pigs and slower growth rates should help to lift finished pig returns.