Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye
16th Oct 2020 / By Peter Crichton
Another tough week ahead as far as pig trading is concerned and, although the latest German price stood on for another week quoted at 1.27 EUR, in Sterling terms this works out at an equivalent price of 115p, around 40p/kg below UK levels.
It is no wonder that cheaper foreign inputs are continuing to put massive downward pressure on pig meat prices in the UK. Very much a case of 'mind the gap'.
The SPP however, continues its downward slide, losing another 0.42p this week to stand at 157.81p, although thankfully most of the weekly contribution prices have held at last week’s level, within the 147p-152p range, with the exception of one of the 'Big 4', whose price declined by 1p to 146p (tut tut!), but compliance with Covid rules on social distancing is still a tall order for processors to remain viable and compliant with Covid restrictions at the same time.
Spot bacon prices for regular sellers have been reported in the 145p region, but non-Farm Assured one-off loads of pigs are struggling to make any more than 140p subject to space being available, which remains scarce.
Cull sow prices have tended to follow the same stand-on situation as EU pig meat values with the result that UK cull sow buyers were generally offering prices in the 145p region according to load size and spec with a touch more available in places. A stronger pound saw the Euro traded on Friday worth 90.55p compared with 91.23p a week earlier and doing no favours for the pig meat import/export balance.
Weaner values are continuing to track the downward route of the SPP with the AHDB 7kg ex-farm average slipping by 99p to £40.27/head and the 30kg average also easing to £56.68/head.
Lack of rearing and finishing space continues to be a talking point, with some spot weaners still looking for homes and buyers adopting a cautious approach, with some sitting on the fence until the outlook for finished pig values and feed prices over the Christmas period becomes clearer.
Feed ingredient costs are continuing to hit producers’ margins and although feed wheat futures held at similar levels of around £189/t for November, September ’21 feed wheat looks a better bet at £160/t.
Feed barley futures have held at last week’s level of £140/t for November but protein prices are continuing to romp ahead with November Hipro soya traded at £385/t compared with £365/t a week ago and longer months saw October ’21 soya traded at £345/t which is £13 higher than its value 7 days ago.
And finally, very much a case of 'lastminute.com' as far as any further Brexit related decisions are concerned, with the EU treating negotiations with the UK as a messy divorce rather than an amicable parting of the ways which is hardly surprising.
Disappointing news that the Government have still to clarify their position in connection with pig meat imports, which do not meet the high welfare and other standards applied to UK pig meat, with the Government rejecting the House of Lords amendments to the Agriculture Bill designed to protect the UK from imports from lower welfare standards countries and putting the cat amongst the pigeons as far as the reaction of the UK pig industry has been concerned.
Pundits are pointing out that the opportunity to 'block' lower welfare imports and put up the price of domestic pig meat as the UK is only around 50% self-sufficient, is starting to look more like an opportunity missed rather than light at the end of the tunnel, but it could be a case of the last to leave the EU turning off the lights as they say farewell.