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SPP drops slightly but slaughterings remain well above 2020 levels

18th Mar 2021 / By Alistair Driver

Following two weeks of encouraging increases, the EU-spec SPP recorded a marginal decline last week.

The SPP averaged 139.41p/kg, 0.04p less than the previous week, with prices remaining nearly 24p down on a year ago and 2.5 below the five-year average.  

Prices Mar 21

There is more encouragement on throughputs. Even though estimated slaughter dropped back slightly on the week, by 1,300 head, standing at 199,400 head, this was 12% higher than a year and 16% above the five-year average. 

"This is particularly impressive as throughputs began to rise this time last year ahead of the first wave of the pandemic," AHDB said in its weekly update. 

February slaughter figures, which saw slaughterings reach 905,100 head, 5.2% more than the previous year, confirmed reports that progress has been made in reducing the size of the backlog. However, there is still progress to be made to eliminate the issue entirely, AHDB said.

Reports suggest there may be some tightening in supplies in the spring-time, which would agree with a poorer performance seen in the breeding herd in the final quarter of last year.

In another encouraging sign carcase weights dropped back once again. Weights averaged 89.27kg, 680g less than in the previous week, but remain well above the previous year and the five-year average, at +3.34kg and +4.79kg respectively.

Prices in Europe continue to rise. The EU Reference price increased by more than 5p in the week ended March 6, standing at just short of 123p/kg. 

Rapid increases are being seen in Germany in particular, where prices have soared in recent weeks, as the market finally recovers from the intitial of its ASF export bans and COVID-19 restrictions in pork plants. Dutch pig prices are also rising fast. 

This is all helping the UK cull sow trade, with prices now improving after recent lows.