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What Short Week? 

26th May 2017 / By Peter Crichton

Pig prices are continuing on their upward track, with the SPP putting on a further .76p to stand at 159.21p and spot buyers were as keen as ever for a dwindling supply of spare pigs in the system. 

The recent spell of hot weather is also hitting growth rates and there are several cases where finished pig numbers are dwindling due to insufficient weight in the system. 

Most weekly announced prices have remained at similar levels within the 159p-164p range, and a trickle rather than a flood of spot bacon pigs have generally traded between 167p and 172p. 

Despite Monday being a Bank Holiday, a number of abattoirs were operating as normal, with every pig wanted. 

Signs are emerging from the EU mainland that pig prices may have hit something of a plateau and the influential German Producer Price stood on for the second week running at 1.80 EUR. 

German cull sow prices have also remained at similar levels, although the cull market on this side of the Channel has improved due to a firmer Euro which traded on Friday afternoon worth 87.22p compared with 85.94p a week ago. This helped cull sow prices to rise by a copper or two, with very few prices of below 100p reported and sellers of large loads who were prepared to haggle were able to benefit from the lack of numbers currently available. An increase of 1p/kg is worth £1.50 per sow. 

Weaner prices continue their ascent, with the latest AHDB 30kg ex farm average at £59.78, up by 42p on the week, while the 7kg average also continues to improve, standing at £42.78 (+46p) but, as with finished pigs, spot prices are well ahead of contract while numbers remain tight and finishers are looking to fill empty pens. 

The feed market ended another quiet week with UK feed wheat prices remaining at similar levels, averaging £142.90 ex farm, but EU commission crop reports have cut their yield forecast for major crops by 2-3% on last month, which could encourage the bulls to return to this market if dry weather conditions across Europe prevail. 

Futures prices ended the week slightly easier, with July feed wheat quoted at £143.50 on the LIFFE market and November at £141.50. 

UK soya values have also eased, with 48% soyameal ex-Liverpool quoted at mid-May at £292/t compared with £311/t a month earlier. 

And finally, Cranswick continues to go from strength to strength as revenue for the year ended March 31 2017 grew by 22% to £1.245 billion and profits before tax were also up by 17.2% to £75.5 million.

We need a strong abattoir sector and Cranswick’s recent acquisition of Dunbia, Ballymena also added to their pork processing capacity, but we also need to have a strong meat processing industry because, ‘if you ain’t got buyers, you ain’t got sellers’. 

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