Retail offers put further pressure on pig prices

Pig prices continue on a downward track with the GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price losing 0.58p to stand at 152.34p/kg, writes Farmers Weekly commentator Peter Crichton.

The big four contract buyers – Vion, Tulip, Woodheads and Cranswick – all dropped their contract base prices by 2p, which now range between 146.5p and 150p/kg.

Spot quotes also followed this downward trend, with bacon traded at 144p to 148p/kg according to region and specification, with lighter pigs earning only modest premiums of 4p-6p.

Despite high beef and lamb prices, pigmeat still appears to be something of a loss leader in the retail sector, which, when coupled with rising UK live pig availability, has led to the current price drop.

The euro closed on Friday worth 87.66p, which is only 0.7% down on the week. Cull sow export quotes remained at relatively firm levels within the 100p-105p range, according to region and specification. The release of recent undercover Animal Aid footage shot at Cheales Abattoir did nothing to undermine cull sow prices.

The weaner market, however, remains a very difficult trading sector, with a lack of finishing space coupled with buyers’ concerns over falling finished pig prices. The latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average remains pegged at £45.61/head, which remains below producers’ cost of production levels.

With harvest under way, new crop wheat prices are being quoted at £153/tonne ex-farm, which might point to slightly lower compound feed prices in the months ahead. However, further falls will be needed before this delivers any significant financial benefits to hard-pressed pig producers.

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