QMS reports early signs of seasonal uplift in the pig market

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Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has indicated that the pig market is showing early signs of a seasonal uplift.

After experiencing downward pressure at the start of 2024, the GB Standard Pig Price (SPP) has been relatively stable in February and March. Notably, carcass prices for weights between 70-104.9kg have seen a slight increase, rising 0.4% from earlier in the year.

Despite this uplift, prices are still trailing behind the levels from the previous year, marking the first time in two years that this has occurred. However, they are up 35% on their five-year average as of mid-March, reflecting a significant market rebound from spring 2022 to 2023.

The pig producers are also seeing some relief with the cost of feed, which has decreased by 25-30% compared to 2023 levels. This is due to a well-supplied global arable crop market, improvements in Ukraine’s export capacity, and favourable growing conditions in South America.

While the industry is slowly recovering from the financial crisis of 2021/22, the legacy of a smaller pig herd has supported higher farmgate prices. Slaughter data indicates an 11% decline in prime pig throughput at GB abattoirs in 2023, and the trend has continued into 2024, with a further 4% drop in the first two months.

In Scotland, there’s a stronger momentum with a 14% increase in the number of pigs leaving farms for slaughter compared to the lows of 2023. However, sow numbers in England were still 19% lower than in December 2021, suggesting that while there may be some recovery, significant rebound in prime pig slaughter is unlikely in 2024.

see also:

Tight supplies and demand uplift drive EU pork prices

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