February 11, 2004



UK Pig Prices Heading Up


UK's pig prices have started to recover amid a shortage of finished pigs and falling feed costs.


EU prices are edging ahead, with the mainland average rising 2-4p/kg over the three weeks to Friday (February 6).


Most of the market rises have been seen in Germany, Belgium, France and Spain, and better export demand could also be sparked by the Avian Flu virus in Asia.


The European mainland average price has now recovered to €1.10 (76p/kg) compared with €1.02 (70p/kg) in December and €1.19 (82p) in October.


Spot bacon prices in the UK for pigs delivered this week (commencing Feb 9) have generally been within the 100-105p/kg range with lighter cutter weight pigs earning a 4-6p premium.


The greatest activity has been in the cull sow market where domestic numbers remain tight.


According to the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) weekly slaughterings are struggling to exceed 4,000 head compared with almost double that four years ago.


Sow traders are offering 66-70p/kg (excluding the head), representing a rise of 15-18p/kg (£22 a sow) over the past month.


The slide in UK pig numbers is also starting to filter through to the weaner market.


Although the MLC 30kg average remains relatively static at £32.57 ex-farm spot traders are reporting more interest with tail-docked, vaccinated bunches fetching up to £35.


Feed wheat prices have drifted by about £5-£7/t over the past month, and London futures have also eased by £2-£5/t for the coming six months.