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Peter Crichton commentary -  Up, up and away 

10th Mar 2017 / By Peter Crichton

The SPP has put on 0.35p to stand at 149.94p, German producer prices have risen 3 Euro Cents, the Euro is up by 1.7% to trade on Friday worth 87.41p, cull sows are +3p/kg and spot prices are also up by 2p – 4p/kg with most in the 152p – 155p range. 

According to meat trade sources, the ongoing rise in pig prices is due more to a lack of supply than better demand, which can be a worry if the gap between UK and EU mainland pig prices gets any wider. 

Cull sow prices received the double boost of better German pigmeat values as well as a stronger Euro with the result that UK cull sows are now worth in the 96p – 99p/kg range with the odd large loads hitting the £1/kg barrier for the first for several years. 

The weaner market continues its recent bullish trends and although the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm average of £55.26/head was slightly lower than last week’s quotation, this is seen as more of a quirk than a trend. At the same time 7kg values continue to move ahead with the latest AHDB average quoted at £38.50/head. 

Once again significant premiums were available for producers with loads of spot weaners to sell, but almost all are now being traded on contract which, on a 52 week basis, is probably a better arrangement than to face the 'hot and cold' challenges of marketing non-contract weaners. 

The only 'up' that is not operating in producers’ favour is in the cereal markets where ex farm UK spot feed wheat is now trading at around £144.50/t and futures have held at recent firm levels with May feed wheat on the LIFFE market trading at £148.25/t and July just touching £150/t. 

Values on longer months have also improved with November at £141/t and, for those likely to live that long, May next year is quoted at £145.95/t. 

Protein values

UK protein values are also continuing to nudge ahead with 48% soya ex Liverpool quoted in early March at £334/t and 34% rape meal quoted ex Kent at £196/t, so producers remain well advised to keep a wary eye on the feed markets before they treat their wife to a new hat! 

And finally, good news on the health front that the use of antibiotics is falling more quickly in agriculture than in human medicine according to Junior Health Minister, Nicola Blackwood, with sales of antibiotics for food producing animals down by 10% compared with human use, which only fell by 4.3%. 

And finally finally, the rare opportunity to have a “free” drink at Peter Crichton’s expense occurs once again at the Ampton point-to-point racecourse near Bury St Edmunds this Sunday 12th March, where Peter is sponsoring the Club Members Conditions race at 1.30pm and confidently predicts that the winner will be “thefastesthorse”! 

I hope to see you there, perhaps? 

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