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AHDB Pig Market Weekly

08 March 2013

AHDB Pig Market Weekly - 7 March 2013AHDB Pig Market Weekly - 7 March 2013

Latest physical performance data, covering the whole of 2012, shows that the productivity of the GB herd continues to improve.


New Physical Performance Data Released

Perhaps the most important measure of breeding herd performance is the number of pigs weaned per sow per year. This measure forms the basis of BPEX’s Breed +3 initiative, which aims to help each herd to wean an extra 3 pigs per sow per year. Over the past year, performance on this measure increased by 0.28 to 22.86 pigs per sow per year. The improvement was mainly due to an increase in the number of pigs born alive per litter, which rose by 0.14 to 11.54. The farrowing rate also increased to 81.8% as did the number of litters per sow, up to 2.26. However, these improvements were partly offset by a small increase in pre-weaning mortality, which increased to 12.7%, a rise of 0.3 percentage points.

GB Average Pigs Weaned Per Sow Per Year

Performance also improved somewhat in the feeding herd, with most of the gains in the finishing herd; rearing herd performance was similar to 2011. The overall feed conversion ratio from weaning to slaughter fell from 2.46 in 2011 to 2.32 in 2012. Mortality also fell slightly, from 5.3% to 5.2%. However, there was little change in daily liveweight gain because the amount of feed consumed each day was lower.

A full range of performance indicators for indoor and outdoor breeding, rearing and finishing herds can be accessed through the BPEX website by clicking here. As well as providing average figures, the website includes the performance of the best third and best 10% of producers.

US Outlook Suggests Higher 2013 Pig Production

The USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum of 21 and 22 February pointed to pork production being at a record level in 2013 in spite of ongoing high feed costs. Both the total pig herd and the breeding herd on 1 December were virtually unchanged from a year earlier but as the number of pigs weaned per litter is expected to increase further, reaching 10.3 head by the end of this year, commercial production is forecast to increase one per cent to 10.6 million tonnes. Exports are also set to increase to 2.48 million tonnes in spite of the anticipated rise in pig prices for 2013. In 2012, the pig price averaged $60.88 per 100 lb lw higher than in 2011, but is expected to recover to between $61 and $65 in 2013.

Feed prices are likely to remain high through to the summer averaging between $6.75 and $7.65 per bushel for corn compared with $6.22 in the 2011/12 crop year. Soyabean developments are somewhat similar and prices are expected to average between $430 and $460 per ton up from $394 per ton in 2011/12. Financial losses of pig producers may ease somewhat in the coming year as despite higher feed prices positive developments in producer returns are expected. In addition, feed prices should moderate moving into the 2013/14 crop year with the new harvest.

UK Pig Price

The EU-spec DAPP for the week ended 2 March fell marginally, by 0.61p, to 155.46p per kg. Prices normally start to pick up during this time of the year and last year for the same week edged up slightly but the year on year increase last week still amounted to almost 16p. Throughputs were 1,700 lower on the week, at 161,700 head. They were also 3,600 head lower compared with the corresponding week in 2012. In spite of tight supplies the small drop in the DAPP last week suggests lacklustre demand. Carcase weights were also marginally lower at 79.97kg but up 0.51kg on a year earlier. For the week ending 9 March, the price of an average 30kg weaner reached £46.89 per head. At this level the price was 44p higher than the previous week. Producer returns remain around £2 above last year’s level.

The sow market moved up by over four pence for the week ended 23 February to average 101.61p per kg. Prices have now moved up by 10p in the last four weeks and were also above the price offered to producers during the Christmas week but they were still 14p below the level for the same week last year. The recent increase in the cull sow price partly reflects higher consumer demand for cheaper cuts, including on the continent, as consumers traded down given the squeeze on consumer spending after the Christmas period. Sow prices in the key market, Germany, in particular have been increasing steadily since reaching a low point in late January and have also moved up in other EU countries.

Increased Pig Herd in Northern Ireland

Total pig numbers in Northern Ireland in December 2012 were up three per cent on a year earlier. This was due to increased numbers of piglets, up six per cent, and pigs being fattened for slaughter which were also up six per cent year on year.

In contrast, there was a three per cent reduction in the female breeding herd mainly due to a three per cent decline for sows in pig. This suggests some productivity gains as the smaller breeding herd delivered more piglets. There were no significant changes for in pig gilts and maiden gilts suggesting that the breeding herd is unlikely to increase in the short term.

Northern Ireland Pig Census, December

Source: Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

The Welsh pig herd is the lowest of the four UK regions and numbers in December were up two per cent on a year earlier and totalled 26,200 head. The majority of this increase resulted from a notable rise of 13 per cent in the breeding herd to 3,600 but as maiden gilt numbers declined by 13 per cent this may put a cap on future growth.

Results for England and the UK as a whole are due to be published by DEFRA on 14 March.

Less Spanish Pork to France

Latest figures from the Spanish customs show that volumes of fresh and frozen pork exported in 2012 increased by five per cent. Growth in the export market reflects developments in the first half of the year. Trade was somewhat dampened between July and December. While the majority of the Spanish trade remains within the EU, shipments to their neighbour (France) were two per cent down on the year. In spite of a small decline in the French pig meat production, lower shipments from Spain is likely to be a result of an eight per cent increase in the unit price offered to the French market. In contrast, most of the other key markets recorded positive import volumes from France. Exports to the Italian market were up five per cent, while Portugal demanded seven per cent more Spanish pork. Shipments to Germany were also up by a notable 13 per cent.

Spanish Exports, 2012

Source: GTIS

Amongst the non-EU markets, exports to Russia were a fifth higher compared with the 2011 levels. In addition, Spain further facilitated Chinese appetite for pig meat with an increment of 14 per cent on the previous year. Both of the respective markets account for 11 per cent of total exports.

Feed Market Update

Wheat prices showed a further easing in the last week both on the global market and in the UK. There has been an easing of the drought in the US following further snowfall although continued moisture is needed. For the UK the LIFFE wheat futures price for May delivery declined by two per cent to £201.75 per tonne given improved weather allowing soils to start to dry out and enable cultivations to take place. However, new crop futures remain at historically high pre-harvest levels not helped by the poor conditions of the UK crop and for November delivery the contract price amounted to £184.65 per tonne.

In contrast both US maize prices and global soyabean prices have edged up. For the latter, delays are expected in the shipments of soyabeans from Brazil even though the weather situation has improved crop prospects.

Falling Irish Pig Herd

The latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office indicate that the number of pigs in December 2012 totalled 1.49 million a reduction of four per cent compared with a year earlier. There was a decline in both the breeding herd and pigs for slaughter.

There was a two per cent contraction in the breeding herd as Irish producers have struggled to implement the new EU regulations covering the sow stall ban at a time when profitability has been under pressure. Sows in pigs were notably lower by as much as 7 per cent and only partly offset by the 14 per cent rise in gilts in pig.

Irish Pig Census, December

Source: Central Statistics Office

The decline in other pigs in December 2012 has already reduced reduce slaughtering levels in early 2013. This seems likely to continue especially given the significant nine per cent drop in the number of piglets and the 11 per cent reduction in the number of slaughter pigs weighing between 50kg and 80kg.

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