7 March 1997


PORK exports have risen in the wake of swine fever outbreaks on the Continent. In the week to Feb 15, for example, the Meat and Livestock Commissions export survey puts exports to the rest of the EU up nearly a fifth on the same week in 1996. It also marks the highest weekly export volume since early 1995. Germany, taking 1670t, accounted for the bulk. Despite the strength of sterling, the swine fever problem has boosted demand for alternative supplies, with UK product still competitively priced. In the middle of last month, for example, UK prices were around 7% lower in sterling terms than those in Germany. Pig prices rose again slightly this week. Monday markets saw an average all-weights spot price of 83.80p/kg.

RECENTLY published results of the Dutch Dec 1996 pig survey show a 2% increase in the breeding herd to 1.5m pigs. Maidengilt numbers were up 4%, suggesting future expansion. But thatwas before the swine feveroutbreak.

OVER 480,000 calves had been slaughtered in the UK under the calf processing scheme by Feb 7, according to the EU.

YOUNG steers on green CIDs will be making between 130p and 140p/kg, grossing £500-plus, at this springs first store cattle sales, predicts auctioneer Simon Draper at Rugby, Warwicks. And stock bet-ween 18- and 24-months on blue cards will be changing hands at about £120p/kg or £600-plus, he suggests. Store sales get into gear at Rugby next Monday (Mar 10) when over 300 head will be on offer.

THE countrys first auction of forward-leasing milk quota was held at Taunton, Somerset, last week, when Greenslade Hunt saw 900,000 litres make between 10 and 12.2p, to average 11.1p/litre. Its value early this week, according to agents, was between 10.5 and 12p/litre.

THE entry of 100 heifers was a mart record at Market Drayton, Shropshire last Wednesday. Heifer prices topped at 114.5p/kg, with only a few below 95p/kg. Among the steers, there were more above the 100p/kg-mark than below it. "But watch the fat and dont keep these cattle too long," is the advice of auctioneer David Brettell. He blames the flood of beef imports for the slight weakening of prices on the week, citing Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe as the sources. Meanwhile at Ludlow, Shropshire, auctioneer John Uffold said, with German beef flooding the market at 70p/lb or less, it was like trying to "push water uphill". Standard quality steers averaged 98.2p/kg, 98.4p/ kg and 99.3p/kg for lights, mediums and heavies, respectively.n

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