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 Market commentary - Let's Hang On to What We've Got

21st Oct 2017 / By Peter Crichton

Although the latest SPP dropped another 1.03p this week to stand at 157.89p, German pig producer prices (thankfully) stood on at €1.50 and the Euro has also staged something of a mini rally. As a result, at least European pigmeat values appear to have levelled out rather than continuing their rapid decline. 

On this side of the Channel, weekly contribution prices are continuing to ease back losing, in the main, between 1p – 2p/kg, with most at around the 150p/kg mark, which is 20p/kg lower than some of the front runners were offering in June. 

Spot bacon prices were generally in the 140p/kg region for one off loads, but regular sellers were in most cases able to sell for 4p-6p/kg ahead of this, although contract prices still look a much better bet by comparison. 

There only nine clear slaughtering weeks between now and Christmas, so producers should look long and hard at the weights of their pigs in the system and try and keep moving what they can, even if this means taking a lower price. 

Cull sow prices actually took a slight upward step, simply because of the value of the currency, rather than any changes in values on the other side of the Channel. UK export abattoirs lifted their bids by around 1p/kg and traded in the 75p-78p/kg range, which still makes a poor comparison with the value of cull sows earlier in the year. 

Weaner prices are still having something of a bumpy ride as far as Red Tractor spot pigs are concerned, although the latest AHDB 30kg ex-farm weaner average actually moved up to £58.23/head, but the 7kg average lost ground and now stands at £42.18/head. 

In the cereal markets, global wheat futures eased back during the week and closer to home the UK LIFFE Feed wheat futures exchange reported November trading at £139.50/t and July 2018 reflecting a slightly more bullish trend at £150.10/t. 

UK protein prices closed at slightly firmer level following international values with 48% soya meal ex-Liverpool traded at £319/t and 34% rape meal ex-Kent at £162/t. 

And finally, although hopefully this will not be the 'straw that broke the camel’s back', at a time when producers’ margins are coming under pressure it is disappointing to hear that straw prices are soaring, especially in the South West where barley straw now averages £80/t and wheat straw £75/t, due to a combination of wet weather and demand from power plants. For those producing Freedom Food quality pigs where large volumes of straw are required, this is another problem to be faced in the months ahead. 

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