Auctioneer Will Wallis, discusses the latest in the pig trade.
Pig sales have been a new addition to Frome Livestock Market with the first fortnightly sale in spring 2017.
Support from vendors and purchasers has been superb with over 3,500 pigs sold in the first year. Although a small number in comparison to the amount of pigs sold deadweight annually, it highlights the number of UK keepers with smaller herds, and the importance of livestock markets for the selling of store, fat and cull stock.
The long hot summer has certainly influenced the pig industry with sales of fresh pork slow, with roast dinners off the menu. However, processed meat sales have been good with the World Cup and plenty of BBQ's!
The heat has also bought rising feed wheat and straw prices which will no doubt increase production costs. There are also reports that the continuing scorching weather has hit weaning weights, along with fertility levels in sows, which could result in a shortage of pigs later in the year.
Trade for prime pigs has certainly lifted since the beginning of 2018, with most of the market buyers purchasing for local butchers and wholesalers, helping to maintain a strong trade throughout the year. The best heavy weights in recent months have been £130 to £145 most weeks.
Demand on a national level has generally been held back by cheaper foreign imports competing with UK pork (The swines!).
Cull trade has remained at lower levels with export prices at 60p/kg compared to 96 p/kg, 12 months ago, when the Euro was worth the same as today.
The store pig trade has remained strong, with top quality white pigs having the greatest demand.
In short, pigs continue to be boom or bust, but most importantly we must keep supporting our fellow farmers and spread the word to buy British!