Industrial action forces pigmeat values down

Industrial action at a Suffolk abattoir and better supplies of UK slaughter pigs combined to push spot pigmeat quotes down this week (w/c 26 Sept).

The Grampian Foods plant remained closed for much of Friday, 23 September, but further industrial action may be suspended after a legal challenge by the company.

Average weekly slaughtering figures published by DEFRA have also shown a slight rise in clean pig availability during August with a weekly average of 171,000 compared with 166,800 in July.

With UK carcass weights also on the up, home killed production levels rose from an average of 12,800t a week in July to 13,500t in August.

EU mainland pigmeat prices have also rallied slightly after a four-week slide. The latest average producer price equivalent stands at 92.3p/kg.

The GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price has been in decline since mid-July and is now quoted at 103.9p/kg, but better EU prices may stabilise values as the crucial autumn trading period approaches.

Spot bacon buyers are quoting in the 103–105p/kg range for deliveries week commencing 26 September, with cutters worth 4–6p/kg above this.

Cull sow prices have also remained firm reflecting the smaller size of the UK sow herd.

August sow slaughtering averaged 4,000 head a week, down by 11.25% compared with August 2004.

Weaner prices have remained almost unchanged with the Meat and Livestock Commission 30kg ex-farm average quoted at £34.74/head.