Pigs bounce back as imports dry up

By FWi staff

PIG prices have picked up this week, because foreign supplies are drying up and the welfare slaughter scheme has put a base in the market.

Spot prices lifted from 85p/kg for baconers last week to an average of 95p/kg. Cutters too, have bounced and range from 100p-110p/kg.

A ban on some Dutch pigmeat due to foot-and-mouth restrictions and rising EU values improved prospects at home.

Some commentators feel that imports should slow and British prices increase, but others fear this could be short-lived.

“Its a very fragile market,” says Peter Crichton. “Even though pig numbers are down, it does not necessarily mean demand will go up.”

The Dutch ban is also only regional, so some product will still be coming in, says Anglia Quality Meats Richard Dole.

Most retailers now have price promotions for pork products.

Asda and Sainsbury both have pork shoulder on offer – not one of their normal cuts – in a bid to shift surplus meat left over by export bans.

But the recent Japanese bar on all EU meat exports could re-direct Danish pig meat supplies to the rest of Europe and threaten the UK market.

Last year Denmark sold 212,000t of pigmeat to the Japanese.

Blurring the market further is the welfare slaughter scheme, set at 90% of market value. This has put a floor in the market, even if it isnt up-and-running yet, says Mr Crichton.

The rate for slaughter pigs of 15 an animal plus 15p/kg up to 100kg, means a ceiling of 70 on heavyweights over the 100kg mark.

The rate of recompense is still attractive though, particularly for overweight pigs held on farm.

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