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Mind the Gap - Peter Crichton commentary

24th Mar 2017 / By Peter Crichton

Another positive week for sellers with the SPP putting on 0.86p to stand at 151.04p and weekly contribution prices also rising by up to 3p/kg, with most now between 150p – 158p/kg, according to spec.

Spot baconers have remained very thin on the ground but where they were available bids in the 155p/kg + region were on the cards.

GB pig prices were helped by rising European values with the influential German producer price putting on 4 Euro Cents to stand 1.61 Euros, which in ‘our money’ works out at 139.3p/kg, but for a much heavier pig with a more generous spec and fewer bottom line deductions.

However, although the gap between EU mainland and UK prices is around 16p/kg, if it goes anywhere beyond 20p/kg this is normally when we fall into the mire so, hopefully, there will not be too much of a price gap on either side of the English Channel in the run up to the Easter period.

Cull sow values have also continued to harden with the odd copper available in places, with the result that for producers with larger loads, the 100p/kg benchmark has been breached, with most traded in the 97p – 100p/kg bracket, although the Euro ended the week little changed worth 86.5p.

Although the latest AHDB weaner prices have eased a touch from last week’s levels, with the 30kg ex farm average quoted at £55.27/head and 7kg at £38.27/head, any spot supplies were soon snapped up at significantly higher prices and the £60 weaner could become a reality.

Cereal prices have ended another relatively quiet week with UK ex farm spot feed wheat quoted at £143.80/t and on the futures market March feed wheat was traded at £147/t, easing back to £137/t in November. Looking ahead to March 2018, current wheat futures prices are in the £141/t region.

And finally, we all know that pig industry fortunes (or otherwise) depend upon the delicate balance between supply and demand.

According to the latest Defra survey figures, the UK pig herd grew by 3% in 2016, although this has yet to feed through to slaughter pig numbers in early 2017 but, if the figures are correct, this indicates growing confidence due to sustained higher prices which are now filtering through and filling something of the financial ‘black hole’ that we were in a year ago.

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