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Something in the Air

30th Mar 2018 / By Peter Crichton

Despite the 'two short weeks' ahead, there is something of a more positive feeling in the air, with the influential German producer price thankfully standing on for the second week running, and no signs of any significant numbers of UK pigs being rolled. 

The latest SPP was only up by 0.03p to stand at 145.37p but that’s better than going down, and weekly contribution prices tended to be up by 1-2p in the main, which is also encouraging. 

The spot bacon market has remained quiet with most pigs being absorbed under contract, but where deals were done these tended to be around the 140p mark for Red Tractor baconers. 

Cull sow prices were mainly unchanged nudging up towards the 70p mark, but are still well behind their value of 100p/kg (yes, really) this time a year ago when the Euro was actually weaker and was worth 85.6p, compared with its current value of 87.73p. But a recovery in UK cull sow price is long overdue and would also be a signal of better pig meat demand in Europe. 

The latest AHDB 30kg weaner average has eased by 98p to £50.01/head but 7kg piglet prices are firmer to the tune of 78p and now the average stands at £38.01, but there is still a fairly wide gap between Freedom Food and Red Tractor values, with the former in relatively strong demand where space could be found. 

On the feed front protein prices remain relatively firm with 48% soya traded ex-Liverpool in mid-March at £348/t and 34% rapemeal at £206/t. 

The grain futures markets ended another relatively quiet week with London wheat traded at £142.35 for July and little change at £142.60 for November. Grain analysts are awaiting the release of the latest USDA crop data so now might be a good time for canny UK pig producers to keep a close eye on the market in case it starts to move in the wrong direction. 

And finally, positive news from the NPA that the Red Tractor logo will be promoted in a series of national TV advertising for the first time in the scheme’s history. 

On the basis that 'you have got to give if you want to gather', pig meat promotion is absolutely vital if the industry is to compete with other meats. Past campaigns, including pulled pork, midweek meal choices and pork medallions, have all proved that this is one sector where a positive effect can be achieved as far as demand for pig meat is concerned. 

Phil Collins

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