FALLING EU pigmeat values are posing a challenge to the stability of UK prices.
Producer quotes in many leading EU countries have dropped 5p/kg deadweight over the past week, cutting the mainland average to 95p/kg.
The UK market has remained firm so far, with the latest GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price (DAPP) only a shade easier at 106.23p.
But July and August are often difficult selling months as the holiday period approaches and the DAPP is expected to ease over the next six weeks.
UK producers hope that any fall will be relatively modest before better demand for pigmeat picks up in the autumn.
Spot bacon prices on Friday reflected that availability of cheaper imports, as bacon traded in the 108-110p/kg range, down by 1–3p on the week.
But the return of better weather should help to stimulate barbeque demand and improve prices for lighter carcass weights.
Cull sow quotes have also become more volatile, with prices ranging widely from 72p to 77p/kg according to specification and availability.
The relative strength of the euro, which opened on Monday at 68.8p, will help to maintain export values and make pigmeat imports less competitive.
With harvest approaching and feed cereal prices quoted as low as £62–£65/t, weaner demand has remained firm.
The Meat and Livestock Commission 30kg ex farm average of £35.21/head is almost £2/head up on the same period of last year.