Monthly Archives: December 2012

EU welfare rules give Hercule Poirot a challenge

How easy is it to get the wrong end of the stick? Very, especially if you listen to some people.  Some of the comments that have been thrown around in the media in recent weeks about EU welfare rules provide a salutary lesson for the year’s end.

The BBC’s flagship radio farming programme broadcast the view (21 December) that, “nearly half of EU member states will be producing illegal pork from the start of January.” This view followed the press release a day earlier by the UK’s National Pig Association (NPA) that, “Around 40,000 ‘illegal’ pigs an hour will be entering Continue reading

No Santa rally for EU’s pig prices – or 2013 shortage

In the run up to Christmas all livestock producers hope to get something extra from the market. In Europe there seems no hope of any such bonus this year. Pig prices have been weakening for the last month and look set to enter the holiday season on a falling trend. The price data for November and December offer no early Christmas presents for farmers: no Santa rally is evident anywhere – not even in Lapland.

There is more detail on these prices in the latest issue of Whole Hog Brief and it seems that Continue reading

Russia’s Christmas present for US exporters

When a story gets into the Wall Street Journal we all take note.  And the report by Kelsey Gee and Bill Tomson at the weekend that Russia wants all US pork exports to Russia to be certified free of ractopamine made the market take note – hog futures fell. According to the Wall Street Journal the absence of a residue testing programme for ractopamine by the USDA would mean that all US pork exports to Russia are effectively halted. This is not the first time that ractopamine has got in the way of smooth trade flows between Russia and the USA – and between the USA and other countries. If you believe that “the customer is always right”, there is only one thing to say. Get a residue testing programme in place – quick. That might fly in the face of WTO-purists who would argue that the WYO has accepted that small amounts of ractopamine residues in meat export products are OK. But any appeal to the WTO and, eventually, an appeal to the disputes settlement body would take months and years. Much longer than it might take to set up a ractopamine testing system for exports.

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All pig farmers are equal – but some gloomier than others

November 2012

The November issue of Whole Hog Brief leads with an analysis of the latest UK pig herd census data and Tesco’s new commitment to offer farmers a price for pork that reflects feed price changes. It seems that some parts of the United Kingdom are reducing sow numbers much faster than others and understanding how the United Kingdom’s regions are behaving is key to forecasts of where UK pig production is heading. Understanding where Danish pig prices are going is crucial to our views of the global pork market and we have the views of the chief economist at the Danish Agriculture and Food Council in the latest issue.

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EU welfare rules create confusion for forecasters

October 2012

The October issue of Whole Hog gives a focus to the reports from various EU member states about the newsow stalls welfare rules and how they will affect sow numbers in 2013. The only thing that is clear is that it’s not clear…..The impact of recent the feed price hikes is also an issue.  The US hog census results are discussed in the issue and it seems too soon to call a sow cutback.  The EU’s latest Outlook report does, however, predict a fall in pork exports in 2013 and this is described in the issue.   Pig prices in Europe seem to have hit a plateau after recent record hikes.

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German pig herd falls – but the inventory rises

September 2012

The front page of the September issue deals with numbers arsing form the latest German pig herd census – sow numbers are down but the number of pigs is up: productivity and live pig imports explain this. The latest census results for the North American herd and the Canadian herd are also discussed in the issue and productivity seems to be rising in these countries too. The charts o the  Global Pig Price Index  illustrate  that the global pig price cycle is holding  up – Europe’s prices seem to be the key support.  Pig prices are flying off the charts in the EU and our charts show this clearly.

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