The UK could face a pig shortage in the coming months, which may lend support to steadily recovering prices.
Official stats show supplies are tightening, with clean pig slaughterings down 2% on the week at 167,000 head in the seven days to 4 June.
Finished prices have been creeping up since the mid-March, also helped by an improving EU market and strong demand from China.
Independent consultant Peter Crichton said the remaining progeny from herds culled over the winter were starting to dry up.
This could lead to a shortage of pigs in the autumn, if the same trend happened in Europe, he said.
“It is the first time since last June or July we have not had a supply of pigs to roll over [into following weeks],” Mr Crichton told Farmers Weekly. “On the ground there are very few pigs that have not been placed.
“We have supply and demand back in balance. Weights are down, numbers are slightly down. It is still tough but it is looking a bit more positive than it was.”
Last week the EU-spec standard pigs price recorded its biggest weekly jump since July 2008. The SPP rose just under 2p/kg to 119.43p/kg in the week to 4 June.
Prices have picked up 7p/kg since the market bottom in March, but are still 12p/kg down on the year, according to AHDB Pork.
European pig prices have finally overtaken 2015’s levels, giving farmers more optimism.
In a still-tough market, continental producers are cutting back their herds, which has helped prices.
Last week the average EU price leapt 3.7% to €147/100kg. That was 0.6% higher than the same week last year.
“The UK pig price should be buoyant going forward with tightening of pig supplies,” said the weekly report from co-operative Scotlean. “The European price across the board [is] on the up, the Spanish holiday trade and the Balearic islands is in full swing holiday mode and also European football championships are upon us and there will be an awful lot of sausages and burgers consumed during this time.”