December 23, 2003


UK Pig Industry Worried By Downward Trend of Pig Prices


The recent downward trend of pig prices in the United Kingdom is worrying the industry, although average pig prices are about 10p/kg higher compared to last year. 


Over the past month, the UK Adjusted Euro-Spec Average has lost 5p/kg (£3.50 a pig). Further falls are expected in early 2004.


At the same time feed prices continue to surge ahead, with feed wheat quoted at £107/t compared with £56/t at the same time last year.


Cheap imported pigmeat continues to undermine the domestic market, with the EU price of 72p/kg some 30p/kg below UK values.


After allowing for heavier EU carcass weights and different bonus and payment rate systems this in real terms is closer to 20p/kg.


But it still puts GB pig prices between £12 and £15 a head above their European counterparts.


With the Christmas holiday period looming there will be little activity in the spot pig market this week.


But some smaller wholesalers are reporting a relatively buoyant demand for lighter carcasses between 60kg and 68kg.


Porkers and light cutters should therefore still achieve 110-114pkg.


Cull sow prices remain ruled by lower EU manufacturing pigmeat values and until slaughtering resumes after Christmas quotes are unlikely to move away from the 50-54p/kg range.


The Meat and Livestock Commission 30kg weaner price remains static at £32.75/head ex-farm.