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What are the market prospects for 2018?

3rd Jan 2018 / By Alistair Driver

While 2017 brought a welcome return to profitability in the marketplace, 2018 looks set to be more challenging for pig producers on the back of rising domestic and global production.

The EU-spec SPP reached a record high of 164.75p/kg in July 2017, following 16 months of virtually uninterrupted growth. But prices have slipped since then, falling back to 151p/kg towards the end of the year, as supplies have become more plentiful.

“The situation has shifted in recent months, and the outlook seems less buoyant for 2018,” AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins said.

AHDB forecasts anticipate continued expansion in 2018, with domestic production potentially reaching 925,0000 tonnes, which would be the highest level since 1999.

Defra June 2017 Census figures, published in late-December, supported forecasts of rises in domestic pig production in 2018. Key findings included:

  •  A 2.1% increase in overall UK pig numbers to nearly 5m
  • A 0.4% increase in the female breeding herd to 417,000
  • A 2.6% increase in gilts for first time breeding to 81,000
  • A 2.3% increase in fattening pigs to 4.5m

Expanding global production is also expected to challenge UK exports and increase import pressure.

For more on this story, including Andersons consultants on the potential implications of Brexit, see Pig World