Prices beat traditional Easter calm

By Peter Crichton

UK spot market prices have seen a partial recovery this week at a time when the Easter break normally puts a lid on demand.

Baconer quotes have all improved to average about 80p/kg almost identical to the latest UK AESA which stands at 80.83p/kg.

Weaner prices which rose sharply in early March have now eased back slightly to reflect the earlier reduction in finished pig prices.

Most 30kg weaners are being spot traded between £28.50 and £3/head but if supplies continue to decline finishers could find themselves paying a premium to get the numbers needed.

Due to EU prices and little activity on the Russian market cull sow prices remain depressed with deadweight quotes hovering about the 52p/kg area which works back to a liveweight price of 33p/kg or £66 for the average sow.

Producers are still waiting to see what concrete decisions will be announced and implemented following the 23-24 March Pig Summit attended by Agriculture Minister Nick Brown and 70 pig industry leaders.

This jointly organised NFU, British Pig Association and Meat and Livestock Commission initiative was a “think tank” to come up with policies to meet the challenges faced by the industry into the next century.

However, as one East Anglian producer pointed out unless prices hit break even levels of about 95p/kg soon, after nine months of heavy losses there may not be much of an industry left to save.

Some of the major UK banks are expected to move in on some of the weaker operators soon and more forced sales will be on the cards.

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