Pig values ease back to £213p/kg despite drop in supply

Pig producers are feeling the squeeze, with margins tightening as finished prices continue on a steady downwards spiral.

The GB (EU-spec) deadweight standard pig price (SPP) averaged 213p/kg on 6 January, with finished prices having slipped back by 12p/kg since peaking last August.

Despite this steady decline, the SPP is still up by about 13p/kg deadweight compared with the same week last year.

See also: Global pork and beef production forecast to drop next year

Prices on the Continent have also dropped back since peaking last summer. However, EU markets have more recently turned a corner and began to make some slight weekly improvements towards the end of 2023.  

The EU reference price stood at 183.58p/kg deadweight for the week ending 31 December, a 28p/kg discount to the UK price equivalent. This means EU imports are remaining very competitive in the UK.


Scottish producer group Scotlean reported there was a noticeable amount of imported pork products coming into the UK and said it would be a battle to stop the SPP sliding away during January.

Isabelle Shohet, AHDB red meat analyst, said: “Pigmeat imports for October sat at just above 70,000t, as increases came from imports of bacon, sausages and fresh/frozen pork.

“Total fresh/frozen pork imports grew by 1,865t as bacon imports increased by nearly 1,200t and sausages were up 1,100t on the previous month.”

Some buyers have been reporting slower sales in early January, according to reports from pig marketing co-operative Thames Valley Cambac, but lower throughputs should help to offset this.

The latest industry cost-of-production estimates remain in the region of 195p/kg, which leaves a small margin for most pig producers based on current prices.


Tighter supplies should add some support to pig prices, with production and throughput down overall.

There was a slight uplift in pig numbers coming forward in the build-up to Christmas, which is expected to leave a reduced availability of finished pigs in January and offer some support to domestic prices.

The persistent wet weather is likely to slow finishing on outdoor pig farms and could lead to reduced supplies in the short term.

GB clean pig slaughterings were down 9.1% during the first 11 months of 2023 compared with the same period in 2022, while sow and boar throughput fell 16.6% on the year.

The UK pig population fell by more than 10% on the year to stand at 4.7 million head on 1 June 2023, according to Defra’s June census, which was the UK’s smallest recorded pig population since 2012.