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AHDB Pig Market Weekly

25 May 2012

AHDB UK Market Survey - 25 May 2012AHDB UK Market Survey - 25 May 2012

HMRC data shows that in the first quarter of 2012 the UK exported a fifth more red meat offal than it did in the corresponding period of 2011, with volumes totalling 13,700 tonnes.


UK offal exports grow

With higher prices being paid the value of this trade increased 37 per cent to £12.2 million. This increase in trade was against a drop in production of five per cent.

The bulk of this offal was from pigmeat production with this product representing well over half of red meat offal exports. Shipments of this totalled 9,100 tonnes, an increase of 22 per cent on 2011 levels. The main destination was the Netherlands which accounted for over a quarter of shipments. Overall EU-27 Member States took two thirds of pigmeat offal exports from the UK with a number of Asian countries also taking a significant proportion. There was a considerable increase in the unit values of these exports with the total value increasing by 56 per cent to £7.0 million.

Exports of sheep offal almost doubled to 1,300 tonnes. The vast majority of these shipments were destined for the EU. However the importance of the non-EU market grew, accounting for over a fifth of shipments compared with only nine per cent a year before. The value of these exports also nearly doubled to £1.6 million as unit values increased slightly.

Beef offal volumes went against the trend and recorded a marginal decrease, to 3,300 tonnes, as production was eight per cent lower due to fewer cattle being slaughtered. The majority of shipments went to non-EU trading partners, accounting for 53 per cent of volumes. Within these markets the main trend was large increases to various African countries generally at the expense of far eastern markets. The value of these exports increased by almost one per cent to £3.6 million as a result of slightly increased unit values.

Exports of poultry offal were also higher than 2011 levels, recording an increase 57 per cent to total 9,000 tonnes. Non-EU markets accounted for almost three quarters of all poultry offal exports with a number of Asian and African countries recording considerable increases on 2011 levels. Unit values were also higher with the total value of these exports up almost two thirds at £5.6 million.

Cattle market trends


Deadweight cattle prices continued to ease downwards in week ended 19 May as demand was still not keeping up with supply. R4L steer prices fell two pence to 342.7p per kg, R3 young bulls were down over two pence at 328.5p per kg while R4L heifers were down over a penny at 341.1p per kg. Cull cow values were also lower with –O4L grades slipping three pence to 276.7p per kg.

The liveweight trade in week ended 23 May showed a marked rise with the all prime average recovering much of the previous week’s decline being up almost two pence at 185.6p per kg. Steers were up over two pence, heifers by nearly two pence and young bulls by over three pence. This was despite overall numbers increasing four per cent as a result of a 20 per cent increase in young bull throughputs. The much improved weather this week can’t have hurt consumer demand which has obviously in turn led to processors requiring more cattle.

Cull cow values have also benefitted from this upturn with the overall average increasing by over three pence on week earlier levels to 128.8p per kg.

Regional slaughterings

UK prime cattle slaughterings for April remained well below 2011 levels as supplies continued to be tight on the back of lower calf registrations in recent years and the decline of the breeding herd. Heifer numbers recorded a decline of seven per cent year on year while steer throughputs fell two per cent. Young bull numbers recorded the largest fall being down 12 per cent reflecting the low levels of dairy male retentions in late 2010 and early 2011. The decline in prime cattle numbers were played out across all regions of the UK. This has the potential to have been somewhat skewed by the fact April 2011 included two extra bank holidays which will have disrupted processing to some degree.

Cull cow throughputs recorded their first increase of 2012, being up four per cent year on year at 48,000 head. Again the difference in bank holidays will have had some influence on this. Adult bull throughputs for April were down 14 per cent on the year.

Prime cattle carcase weights were up by over one per cent while cull cow weights fell slightly. Overall beef and veal production fell three per cent to 84,000 tonnes.

Sheep market trends


Following the price increase of the previous week deadweight lamb prices in week ended 19 May resumed their downwards trend. At 412.8p per kg the OSL SQQ was down a comparatively modest penny and a half, however this trade is almost completely finished now and this is the last reported old season price of 2012. New season values recorded a fall of over 10 pence to average 456.9p per kg erasing all the gains of the previous week.

Liveweight lamb prices in week ended 23 May continued to fall with NSL SQQ down six pence at 204.6p per kg. With the end of the OSL trade in sight prices continue to drop. The latest SQQ was down 13 pence to average 166.3p per kg as the tail end of the season is bringing out poorer quality animals.

Regional slaughterings

UK lamb slaughterings for the month of April were marginally lower than 2011 levels having totalled 958,000 head. English and Welsh throughputs remained below 2011 levels registering a one per cent fall, these two countries still account for the vast majority of slaughterings. Scottish numbers were up by around one per cent while Northern Irish throughputs remained well above 2011 being 29 per cent higher. This is still the result of fewer lambs being exported live to the Republic as their domestic supplies remain considerably higher than 2011 levels.

Weights in April were lower month on month; a seasonal pattern resulting from increased numbers of lighter new season lambs being processed. However at 19.7kg they were still higher than 2011 levels reflecting that even new season animals were heavier than they were a year ago due to the good seasonal conditions in late 2011 and early 2012.

Adult sheep slaughterings in April followed the trend set so far this year, being well below 2011 levels. For the month throughputs of these sheep totalled 158,000 head a decline of eight per cent year on year. Carcase weights for these adult sheep remain well above 2011 levels being up three per cent.

The higher weights for both lambs and adult sheep almost completely offset the lower numbers being processed. Total mutton and lamb production for the month was almost on a par with 2011 levels at 23,200 tonnes.

As with cattle it should be noted that April 2011 included two extra bank holidays which will have disrupted processing to some degree.

Pig market trends


Deadweight pig prices continued their seasonal upward trend during week ended 19 May, with the EU-spec DAPP rising by 0.63p to average 149.02p per kg. In recent weeks, the rate of increase has been lower than during the spring of 2011 as poor weather reduced consumer demand and the weaker euro reduced the competitiveness of British pig meat. Estimated slaughterings remain comfortably above 2011 levels, another reason why the price rise is less rapid than a year ago.

The weaner market remains difficult, with finishers reluctant to take on higher numbers while feed prices remain high. The average 30kg weaner price eased back by a few more pennies to £44.21 per head for week ending 26 May, its lowest level since before Christmas.

The weakening of the euro has led to some easing back of the cull sow price since late March as the GB price tends to be close to the price in Germany, the main market for sow meat. The fall in prices continued during week ended 19 May with the average price dropping just over a penny to 116.42p per kg dw.

Regional Slaughterings

UK clean pig slaughterings in April 2012 totalled 934,000 head, five per cent higher than in April 2011. Both England & Wales and Northern Ireland recorded increased clean pig slaughterings, up six and seven per cent respectively. Scottish throughputs were down four per cent, reflecting the reduction in the Scottish herd recorded in the December census. Nevertheless, Scottish clean pig throughputs in the first four months of 2012 were still seven per cent higher than a year earlier. Across the UK, total clean pig slaughterings in the year to date were three per cent up year on year at 3.41 million head.

Slaughterings of cull sows and boars during April totalled 24,500 head, almost all in England. This was four per cent higher than AHDB’s estimate for April 2011. Throughputs for the January to April period were two per cent above year earlier levels.

The average clean pig carcase weight during April was marginally higher than a year earlier at 77.8kg, as was the average carcase weight for cull sows and boars at 152kg. The net result was that total pig meat production in April was six per cent higher than a year earlier at 76,000 tonnes. Total production for the year to date was up three per cent at 282,000 tonnes.

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