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Lyin' eyes

13th Jun 2020 / By Peter Crichton

No major changes in pig values over the past seven days and hopefully no nasty surprises around the corner.

The latest SPP has remained at exactly the same level as it was a week ago of 164.45p and the main weekly contribution prices are also largely static, with an 11p difference between the highest and lowest prices from 155p to 166p/kg. But there are possibilities that when the latest monthly contribution prices are announced some might even go up a tad… we shall see.

The spot market remains undersupplied with pigs with virtually all being sold on contract and reports of deals being done in the 170p – 175p/kg range, according to spec.

The Euro has also remained at very similar levels on the week trading on Friday worth 89.67p.

Cull sow prices are remaining under a certain amount of pressure due to COVID-19 related working space issues hitting the throughput of some of the larger German boning plants. But hopefully once the production lines have speeded up again normal service will be resumed and sow prices will start to recover the very significant losses they have suffered over the past three months.

It is hard to believe that in early April sows were selling at up to 125p/kg compared with 65p – 70p/kg today, although for those prepared to haggle a few coppers more have been available in some cases.

Weaner prices have also seen little change with the latest AHDB 7kg ex farm average easing a shade to £42.53/head, with no average quote this week for 30kg weaners due to insufficient numbers, which have generally been trading in the £58 - £60/head region for Red Tractor and £60 - £63/head for RSPCA assured.

As with finished pigs, weaner numbers are slightly on the tight side which might help to put a firm base in the trade with harvest not too far away now (weather permitting).

Feed prices are still displaying slightly bullish trends with UK feed wheat traded on the futures market at £170/t for July and £171/t for September. Spot UK feed wheat averaged £158.20/t this week with demand remaining firm.

With only a month or so to go before barley harvest starts futures prices have also remained relatively firm with forward deals done for feed barley in September at £139/t.

Protein prices have however remained relatively static with Hipro soya quoted at £298/t for July – October and £299/t for May – October 2021.

Rape meal is trading at around the £200/t mark.

And finally, worrying reports from the US that due to disruption caused in the meat markets by COVID-19 consumer consumption levels for meat are likely to drop and pig prices could come down by as much as 15% in the US.

This comes at a time when the Defra Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis is urging farmers to rely on 'verbal assurances' permitting price cutting imports including pig meat hitting the UK high welfare market.

Unfortunately, 'trust me I am a politician' does not carry a great deal of weight in some quarters, both here and in the US!