Pig producers benefit from seasonal price increases
Scottish pig producers are benefitting from the usual seasonal increase in prime pig prices.
Despite rising 2.5% over the past month, the current price is still 11 p/kg deadweight tonnage (dwt) lower than last year.
This follows pig prices returning to what was described as a more “normal” seasonal pattern in 2017.
European prime pig prices are also showing a seasonal upturn this year, but are said to be well below year-earlier levels.
The level of shortfall against last year is said to be much higher across Europe than in the UK.
According to Stuart Ashworth, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) director of economics services, the recent increase in price has come despite a 5% year-on-year increase in the volume of pigs reaching UK abattoirs.
This is increasing carcase weights which has led to an increase in domestic fresh pork availability.
Ashworth commented: “Firstly, customs data indicates lower imports of pigmeat and pigmeat products and some growth in exports which, despite the growth in home production, resulted in lower overall availability on the home market.
“Secondly, Kantar Worldpanel retail purchase data shows growth in purchases of processed pigmeat, bacon, sausage and ready meals, but there has been reduced consumption of fresh pork, particularly roasting joints.”
The US claims to be the second largest supplier of pigmeat onto the global market after the EU, and following from expansion in production, is expected to grow its exports during 2018.
Recent global weather conditions, including drought in some of the US and similar water issues in Australia combined with an oversupply of water in Argentina, has disrupted its harvest, leading to higher future prices for grains and oilseeds.
“Domestically the late spring is contributing to strengthening grain prices as well. Consequently, the seasonal rise in prime pig prices is welcome but because of rising feed and energy prices margins are under renewed pressure,” concluded Ashworth.