December 12, 2011
British pig producers, aside from seeing a slightly better end to the year than forecast, are also anticipating a brighter outlook for 2012.
The Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price for the week ending November 26 held at 147.41p (US$2.31) per kilogramme compared with 136.61p (US$2.14) per kilogramme a year ago.
Spot pig prices are also showing a much firmer trend with abattoirs looking for extra numbers on better retail demand and higher EU pig meat prices.
Spot bacon is trading in the 148-150p (US$2.32-2.35) per kilogramme range and despite the approaching Christmas/New Year holiday, there are no signs of any significant backlog building up.
Cull sow prices also provide a barometer of the EU mainland pig meat market with quotes for the week from December 5 of 118-120p (US$1.85-1.88) per kilogramme deadweight - a 30% increase on a year ago.
Weaner prices are also recovering, reflecting lower feed costs. The latest AHDB 30kilogramme ex-farm average improved to Â£42.97 (US$67.21) per head, but with reports of premiums of Â£3-5 (US$4.69-7.82) per head paid for Freedom Food accredited pigs.
However, profitability of UK pig production remains vulnerable to the value of the euro and to feed costs. At the time of writing, the euro was holding relatively firm at 85.8p (US$1.34), matching its value of a year ago and helping to limit imports.
The largest reduction in total pig numbers in the EU survey was 7.9% in Poland while France dropped by 2.2% and the UK by just 0.1%. Denmark showed a slight increase of 0.2%, but the large Spanish herd is up by a significant 3.7%.
Overall total slaughter pig availability for the main 14 EU pig producing countries is forecast to be down by 0.5% in the 2011-12 season.