BPEX Weekly

In this issue

Latest Feed Info

feed info

Global and UK grain prices have continued to experience volatility this week after sharp declines the previous week.

Nearby LIFFE Wheat contracts opened the week at £150.65 before dropping to £146.10 by Tuesday and rebounding to £148.00 by midday on Friday. While news of increased maize stocks in the US helped to push prices lower it is the continued concerns over the economic situation in the EU rather than crop fundamentals which are driving markets at present.

For soyabeans, September 1st stocks were forecast at 5.8 million tonnes, 1.7 million tonnes higher than a year ago yet lower than trade estimates of 6.1 million tonnes.

Again soyameal prices have fallen over recent days as the fallout from uncertainty in Europe over the potential Greek debt default pulls all commodity markets lower. CBOT Soyameal was $420/t on 1 Sept and closed Thurs 6 Oct at $330/t.

Looking at the fundamental picture, however, and there are signs that there remains longer-term supply and demand issues for oilseeds and subsequent meal production.

In such times assessment of market direction is becoming ever more complex and risk management is becoming ever more critical for pig businesses.

Click here for BPEX Risk Management

Click here for more feed information.


Latest Link Updates

Pig Market Update


ZNCPig Scheme


Contact Details

Call: 02476 692 051

Email: info@bpex.org.uk

Web: www.bpex.org.uk

Other BPEX Sites




BPEX is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

BPEX Weekly: 07 October 2011

Marketing News

Calling Bacon Foodies


We’re looking for ravishing ‘rasher recipes’ from Red Tractor Farmers to feature in a Bacon Connoisseurs Week recipe leaflet.

We know it’s months away (19-25 March 2012 to be exact) but many consumer magazines work up to four months in advance – hence the need to get cracking!

We don’t need chapter and verse – just your favourite bacon dish – we’ll do the rest. Email your suggestions to BaconEnquiries@bpex.ahdb.org.uk

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Poster Spotting

Pork not porkies

The first week of the new advertising saw Jimmy Doherty help with the launch across the regional airwaves plus the following producers who were interviewed by their regional radio stations - Richard Lister, James Hart, Richard Lilwall, Richard Longthorp, Cameron Naughton and Alastair Butler.

Also, Jim Paice the Government Minister has signed up and provided a quote for use in on going press releases, as well as emailing all his dept staff.  Good Housekeeping magazine has also posted support messages on its Facebook and Twitter pages and emailed the Pork Promise to all their staff encouraging them to sign up as well.

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Say Hello! to Pork Promise

Look out this week for the Pork Promise advert, to be featured in the Hello,10 October issue and the Grill It advert will be appearing in next week's Guardian, Independent and the Times on any day between Thu 13 and Sat 15 October.  For further updates as they come in click here.

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Gammon's A Winner


G Mitchard & Sons, from Radstock, were the regional champions for the South West region with their Gammon Steak. 

From 26 butchers and 130 products their steak beat stiff competition from the 11 other category champions including a Cornish Hogs Pudding, a Black Pudding and a Pork and Blueberry Sausage. 

For the Young Sausage Maker Champion, Kimberley from Artingsalls, this was her first time at entering and she beat off stiff competition from many other seasoned sausage producers to also take the title of best sausage at the event. 

Next stop is Bolton’s Reebok stadium on 9th November, for an entry form or further details click here

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Knowledge Transfer

Tip of the Week: Counting Pigs

It may seem like an arduous task, but counting pigs is an essential part of herd recording. Without an accurate stock count every month a build-up of inaccuracy within your records can occur. 

Are you absolutely sure that you have as many as your records say you have? Get out there and count them!

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Coping with Cold

Finisher pig producers have come up with a practical ‘to do’ list in readiness for the winter months, during a good discussion with vet Janet Owen, from the Garth Partnership.

Janet told the Easey Finisher Pig Club just how much extra attention pigs needed during cold weather. She said they needed to ensure they got up five or six times each day, otherwise they will just huddle and not eat, drink or urinate. Cold weather stresses pigs and stress can make them ill.

The group’s list checklist includes:
• Adjust vents • Block draughts • Plenty of straw • Lag water pipes • Check roof gutters • Check bins for leaks • Organise mould curb • Prepare for water supply in frost – what to do if water freezes.

From last year’s experience it was suggested that putting heaters (oil radiators) next to the water pump could stop it from freezing.

One producer also pointed out that, if you turn your tap on to stop water freezing, you need to turn it on properly – not just a little bit or it won’t help.

Another found that covering his water pipes in straw and draining all the water pipes every evening prevented his water system from freezing up last year; water then needs to be switched back on in the morning. And, for breeding herds, there is more information on preparing for autumn by clicking here.

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Health Team Support


A new member of staff has joined the health team at BPEX. Zoe Barker will be providing support to producers in East Anglia and the South with the Pig Health Improvement Project.

The appointment follows Helen Clarke's move to become Veterinary Projects Manager. Zoe will be on hand to assist with any queries about the scheme, help producers form working relationships in their local areas and will be co-ordinating trials to improve health and biosecurity practice throughout the industry.

She brings with her great experience of managing animal health projects in her previous role. To contact her, email Zoe or call on 07816 938542.

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Flooring Comparison

The objective of this trial, which DP Morgan are running as part of the BPEX Innovation Fund, is to evaluate its suitability as a flooring material compared to the existing concrete floor areas.

The project started in June and the second batch of sows is now under trial. The new farrowing system and set up has been a massive learning curve for the Morgans and they are still learning.

So far they have found that the new coated flooring is quite slippery at farrowing but bedding up with straw has helped to reduce that. The conventional concrete floors have not been slippery. They are recording piglet and sow performance on the two floor types using recording sheets developed by Emma Baxter, SAC.

To read more about the BPEX Innovation Fund projects visit the dedicated area on the BPEX website here.

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Producer Conferences

2TS logo

Click here to grab one of the last remaining places at the 2TS producer conferences this month. 

The two-tonne sow conferences will run on 17, 18 and 19 October 2011 in Cirencester, Stowmarket and Wetherby respectively – and they’re free for pig producers.

Conference organiser Miriam Drewett said: “The programme features practical experience from speakers from the UK, US and Denmark. Plus, there will be an audience voting system and a panel of local producers, vets and allied companies at each event to add their own response."

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Stockman Lincs

Places are filling up fast on the Stockman Lincolnshire course (new for this year). To find out more and book a place email Angela Cliff or call her on 07967 788484.

The training will be held at Uncle Henry’s, Grayingham, Lincolnshire, with the first workshop on 18 October 2011. The cost to attend the whole course has been heavily subsidised and will be £150 per person.

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Stockman North

To book one of the last couple of places on the Stockman North course email Lis Ravn or call her on 07891 656784.

The training will be held at Sandburn Hall, Flaxton, York, with the first workshop on 2 November 2011. The cost to attend the whole course has been heavily subsidised and will be £150 per person.

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Farrowing Check

farrowing disc

BPEX has stocked up on more of its popular Farrowing Discs, which producers hang up in the pen to monitor a sow’s progress at farrowing.

To request your free farrowing discs and a guide to using them email Clancy Smith or call her on 0247 647 8792.

The disc can either be hung above the farrowing pen on a string with a bulldog clip or attached to the pen side somewhere easily accessible. After each sow has finished farrowing, the disc can be moved to the next farrowing sow and it is useful to have several discs in each farrowing house.

BPEX Knowledge Transfer Manager Lis Ravn said: “Attention to detail during farrowing is essential to get newborn piglets off to a good start and it has a major influence on overall litter productivity, which is one of the key areas of focus for producers aiming for the 2TS target.”

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National News:

Scheme is Postponed

DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change) was planning to launch the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for non-domestic generators on 30 September 2011.

State aid approval is a necessary condition for the scheme to go ahead. As part of that process, the European Commission has expressed concerns that the large biomass tariff is set too high. The Commission has given state aid approval for the RHI, subject to a reduction in the large biomass tariff and written confirmation of this is expected very soon.

Changing the large biomass tariff will require the RHI regulations to be amended and submitted to Parliament for approval. DECC is unable to launch the scheme as a whole until this process has been completed. Therefore, unfortunately, the scheme will not be able to open for applications on 30 September 2011 as had originally been planned.

Once written confirmation has been received from the Commission, a further announcement about what this means for the large biomass tariff and the timing of the launch will be made. DECC are committed to launching the scheme as soon as possible to minimise disruption to stakeholders.

To keep up-to-date with the RHI visit the DECC website.

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Unsettled Outlook

HGCA logo

The scene was set for another season of unpredictability in global grain markets at the HGCA Grain Market Outlook Conference. AHDB Senior Analyst Jack Watts said while worldwide demand for grain continues to grow, production in 2011 is struggling to keep pace.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the global maize market, where demand outstrips supply by an estimated 25mt even when budgeting on a bumper South American crop to come. A knock-on effect of this deficit is that the world will be more reliant on wheat for animal feed and with worldwide meat consumption continuing to rise, volatility is being passed from grain markets to meat prices.

Though maize is driving grain markets, wheat remains a political grain, with more than half the world’s exportable stocks being held by non-exporting nations and China alone holding 64mt. Russia is firmly back in the driving seat in terms of exports, trading at a heavy discount to other nations, with the Black Sea region also the world’s leading supplier of feed wheat.

In terms of the UK, the latest Defra figures estimate 2011 UK wheat production at 15.4mt, 3.5% up on last season despite fears of yield losses following the dry start to spring.

Films of the HGCA Grain Market Outlook Conference will be available online at www.hgca.com/markets on Tuesday (11 October).

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Tesco Sales Down

Tesco has reported worsening sales declines as electronics and entertainment products were hit hard amid the most challenging conditions for a generation.

The supermarket giant, which last week launched its £500 million Big Price Drop campaign, said like-for-like sales excluding VAT and petrol fell 0.9% in the three months to August 27, a deterioration on the 0.1% decline in the previous quarter.

Despite the worsening situation in the UK, the group recorded a 6.2% rise in underlying profits to £1.9 billion in the half-year, boosted by a strong performance in Asia. Sales rose 8.8% to £35.5 billion.

The UK sales performance - Tesco's worst for 20 years - highlights the squeeze on consumers' spending power as wages fail to keep up with rising prices.

Tesco admitted its like-for-like growth was slower than planned but claimed it was "a robust performance in the most challenging retail market we have seen for a generation".

Like-for-like sales in food were positive and were showing signs of improvement, it said, but its performance was dragged down by weakened demand for non-food, particularly electronics and entertainment items - two of its largest product groups.

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Sainsbury's Sales Up

Tesco's major rival Sainsbury's hailed a "good sales performance" today after enjoying success in fashion and in its convenience stores.

The group's like-for-like sales were up 1.9% excluding fuel in the quarter to October 1, although unlike Tesco its figures include VAT.

Chief executive Justin King said general merchandise and clothing continued to do well, with sales "well ahead" of the main grocery business.

In line with the consumer trend for local shopping, its convenience stores business continued to grow at a rate of 20%, with like-for-like sales stronger than in its supermarkets. Its 400th convenience store at Wolverhampton was one of 24 such outlets opened by Sainsbury's in the quarter.

Sainsbury's has responded to pressure on household finances by launching its "Live Well for Less" promotion and said 3,000 new or improved lines were in store under its "by Sainsbury's" own label range.

Mr King said: "We expect the market environment to remain very competitive for the foreseeable future but we are confident in our ability to grow by doing a great job for our customers."

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New McDonalds Patty

McDonalds has launched a new breakfast product that includes the sausage patty which the firm believes will grow sales.

Restaurants are now open for an extended period for breakfast, with 80% now being open from 06:00 and breakfast continuing until main menu changeover at 10:30.

Breakfast sales are in growth year-on-year and the firm is currently looking at the pork supply strategy to determine how to move forward and assure a sustainable supply of quality British pork for the future, in turn exceeding our customers' requirements on high quality, locally and responsibly sourced affordable food.

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Shadow Reshuffle

Ed Miliband has reshuffled his Shadow Cabinet. One of the important elements is that Mary Creagh MP keeps her job, probably because of her recent successes at embarrassing the government over forests and circus animals.

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Cranswick Latest

The latest trading statement from Cranswick says pig meat products continue to gain an increased share of the UK retail protein market, as evidenced by recent market data. In fact, there has been an acceleration in this gain in recent months.

Both the versatility and the low relative price of pork to other proteins are key to this positive trend. The growing popularity of pork products has been a contributory factor in the increase in sales at Cranswick.

Underlying sales volume growth in the first quarter was 3 per cent and in the second quarter was 7 per cent. The average volume growth across the six months was 5 per cent. Export sales grew strongly, with growth particularly strong in Far Eastern markets. Initial inroads were also made into the US market following the Hull fresh pork facility receiving USDA accreditation in April 2011.

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Latest BPHS Dates

BPHS logo

Click here for full list of BPHS assessment dates in all participating abattoirs for July to December 2011.

Please note the following date change:

Cranswick, Norfolk – now 8 Nov (instead of 25 Oct)

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Well Done Stuart

Many congratulations to Stuart Bosworth who picked up the title Pig Farmer of the Year in the Farmers Weekly Awards.

The judges said he took the title because of his:

• Professional approach across whole business

• Impressive business model and planning

• Outstanding production results

• Industry influence

To see more of the awards, click here.

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International News:

Meat Inspection Report

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed the first stage of a major piece of work that will provide the scientific basis for the modernisation of meat inspection across the EU.

The work has been broken up into six sets of Scientific Opinions and Scientific Reports and the first set covers the inspection of swine.

As well as identifying and ranking the main risks for public health, the scientific experts on EFSA’s panels were asked to: assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current inspection methodology; recommend methods that take into account the hazards not addressed by current meat inspection; and recommend adaptations of methods and/or frequency of inspections based on the hazard rankings and harmonised epidemiological indicators.

It was concluded that current inspection methods do not enable the early detection of three of the main hazards and, more broadly, do not differentiate food safety aspects from meat quality aspects, prevention of animal diseases or occupational hazards.

The main recommendations on biological hazards are to:

  • Omit the use of palpation and/or incision techniques in post-mortem inspection of pigs subject to routine slaughter because of the risk of bacterial cross-contamination
  • Introduce a comprehensive pork carcase safety assurance framework, combining a range of preventive measures applied on farm and at abattoir in an integrated way as this is the only means to ensure an effective control of the main hazards
  • Collect and analyse food chain information (FCI) at herd and abattoir levels to enable a more location-specific assessment of risk.

To read more, click here.

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Sustainable Concept Farm

Steef Uijttewaal a large pig producer in Utrecht has joined with architects Daad to create the concept of a new fully sustainable pig farm for 150 sows and 700 growing pigs linked to a dairy farm, according to the latest BPEX Export Bulletin.. Pigs have access to a tree-planted courtyard. The initiative is supported by government. (Source, Agrarisch Dagblad)

To read the Bulletin, click here.

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International Prices

For the latest international prices, click here.

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BPEX, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2TL