Pig returns unseasonably firm

By Peter Crichton

AT a time of year when UK pig prices normally slip, producer returns have remained remarkably firm.

Meat traders are reporting stronger-than-usual demand for the UK product.

This weeks UK AESA has posted slight gains to stand at 84.85p/kg, up by .39p and sow prices have also taken a hike. In spite of the strong Pound, current sow quotes are in the 58-60p/kg deadweight range, compared with just 36-38p at the start of the year.

At the same time, UK pig numbers continues to fall.

The latest published weekly slaughter statistics for May 1999 are quoted at 265,000 down 8% on the year. Analysts predict that this trend will continue throughout the year, and Signet estimate falls of a further 10% over the next 12-month period.

If these forecasts are correct, this will show a weekly throughput of 238,000 in May 2000.

This lift in cull sow prices flags up better demand in the EU for the UK product, and may be an indication that unsold stock of pigmeat in the EU are starting to fall.

However, as abattoir buyers are quick to point out, we are entering the “Wimbledon and strawberries” fortnight, which usually signals the start of a difficult summer trading period.

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

  • Finished sow prices leap ahead, Farmers Weekly, today (18 June, 1999)

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