Pig business turns into a sellers market

By Peter Crichton

EVIDENCE of the continuing improvement in finished pig prices is emerging on all fronts.

The latest retail statistics are pointing to more of a sellers market as far as UK pig producers are concerned.

The latest MLC farm-to-retail price spread figures show a 211% mark-up for May, compared with 265% a year earlier and 321% in 1998.

Throughout the period in question the retail price of pork and bacon products have remained relatively stable, flagging up the extent to which UK pig farmers were bearing most of the pain during the slump years of 1998 and 1999.

However, all the signs are of a worldwide recovery in pigmeat values.

Spanish prices have for example soared by over 100% from just 49p/kg deadweight in November 1998 to 100p/kg now.

The same pattern is emerging in many other major producer countries with reports of a surge in US prices and better demand from the Far East.

The latest Dutch AEX futures market reports are that with pigmeat forecast to be in short supply we could see prices within the 82-90p/kg price band for heavy pigs throughout Holland for the rest of the year.

  • Peter Crichton is a Suffolk-based pig farmer offering independent valuation and consultancy services to the UK pig industry

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