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Happy Birthday

5th Jan 2018 / By Peter Crichton

A distinct chill in the air as far as pig prices are concerned with the SPP easing back another 0.62p to stand at 149.78p/kg, which is the first time it has dropped below 150p since March last year.

Although German producer prices thankfully stood on at 1.37 EUR (equivalent to 1.22p in Sterling terms), spot buyers were cold with reports of pigs in the 136p region where space was available, and some at less than this.

As a result, weekly contribution prices have also taken another downward step, losing in the main between 2-3p, which represents a fall of approximately 30p since July 2017, that is £24 per pig!

January is always a notoriously tricky month, and reports of significant numbers of pigs being 'rolled' may point to a challenging few weeks ahead until demand has improved and the queue of pigs in the system has disappeared.

At least cull sow prices have stood on rather than following the downward track of finished pig prices with most culls trading in the dismal 64-67p range, also underlining the weakness of pig meat prices in much of Europe and their ability to send cheap carcases and cuts in this direction to undercut the UK market.

Weaner prices have followed something of a rollercoaster route with the latest AHDB 30kg price improving in value to £54.96 and the 7kg average remaining almost static at £40.17, but very few homes are available for non-contract spot Red Tractor 7kg and 30kg weaners, except at a significant discount.

Global grain markets ended the year on a generally quiet note, with January UK feed wheat futures traded at £137.10/t, May a shade firmer at £141.75/t and November £143/t.

US oilseed markets saw soya beans make modest gains but reports of warmer weather in the Ukraine and melting snow has added to the prospect of waterlogging, which could adversely affect yields but there are forecasts of future cold snaps ahead.

And finally 'Happy Birthday Sweet 16' – the TL spot price service which was set up by producers as an information line commencing in 2002, celebrates its 16th birthday this week and continues to provide guidance on spot bacon prices every Thursday night.

The first ever TL price was just 100p/kg in January 2002, its highest price was 178p in November 2013 and lowest was a miserable 83p in August 2002.

Since 2002 over 800 TL weekly prices have been supplied to producers and hopefully will continue long into the future.

Price details appear on the traffic lights on a regular basis,