BPEX Weekly

In this issue

Latest Feed Info

feed info

The much awaited USDA report created no big surprises and so no major impacts on the current market. Wheat is slightly lower, maize higher. UK wheat market up £1, but looks like a fairly quiet day with the vast majority of the harvest in.

The USDA in detail:

World wheat opening stocks seen 2Mt higher at 196Mt. This buffers the production figure, which is 3Mt lower but lower wheat demand actually results in an increase in the world ending stock estimate, seen 3Mt higher at 178Mt. EU production lower and exports also because of the German quality issues. Canadian production is seen slightly higher which may bring some relief as this will be a key exporter. So no real change in the main drivers; regionally the world still needs to find the quality!

Maize is where the market is looking, because of the tight stocks, so this year’s production is critical. US yields are pulled back 2%, but a very long way to go yet. Previously, the world supply and demand was showing a small global maize surplus, we now have a deficit. The EU crop is pulled back 1Mt to 55Mt, but again early days.

EU maize imports are 2Mt higher at 5Mt so the pile of German feed wheat could be important to the EU feed sector. Any further scaling back and we see increased talk of imports of Brazilian maize and the more exotic feed materials e.g. Tapioca, but we probably need to see some more price movement first.

For the full report click here.


Latest Link Updates

Pig Market Update

2TS campaign



Contact Details

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Email: info@bpex.org.uk

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BPEX Weekly: 10 September, 2010

Marketing News

Britain's Star Sausages


With almost 200 entries into Britain’s Star Sausages product competition, the judging will be tough next Friday, 17th Sept. With entries from butchers, small producers, multiple retailers and manufacturers, the varieties on offer for the judges will get their taste buds dancing. The results of who will be cooking on the roadshow for the mystery celebrity this year, will be announced in mid October. 

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Pork on TV


BPEX Marketing has provided pork sales and consumption data to support a television show entitled 'Food', being screened on Channel 4 next Wednesday, September 15, at 8pm. The BPEX data will be used during a butchery scene, explaining the versatility of pork. The programme will be presented by food critic J. Rayner and food writer Ravinder Bhogal.

National Pig Association

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Knowledge Transfer

2TS Tip of the Week: Light Levels


Day length is now decreasing quickly so check that you are providing adequate lighting. Also remember, Defra states that pigs in buildings with no natural light should have at least 40 lux of supplementary light for at least eight hours per day.

However, 40 lux does not provide adequate lighting for stock people to be able to observe pigs in detail and manage a farrowing house to an excellent standard. Click here for more information on the level of lighting needed for staff to work effectively as well as addressing the sow’s needs. See if it can make a difference to unit productivity.


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Reducing Energy Use

A BPEX-funded research project is looking at reducing energy usage and environmental footprint. It is being carried out by Mamhoud Shirali at the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC). It aims to determine the difference in energy usage among growing pigs in relation to: growth rate, protein and fat accretion rate and carcase and meat quality characteristics.

Another objective is to determine the difference in nitrogenous losses.This project started last year and is due to finish in 2012. In the meantime, progress will be reported here on the BPEX website.


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Kitchen Table Training

Some pig units need specific training on farm or round a kitchen table. This is a service BPEX provides and training has been provided for new starters on farrowing house management, the biology behind AI and practical AI skills. This is available for any units with new starters who may want on-farm instruction to start with. Contact your regional Knowledge Transfer Manager to find out more: http://www.bpex.org.uk/2TS/contact.aspx

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Exhibition Space Available


There will be an opportunity for allied industry companies with products or services related to reproductive performance to exhibit their material, for a small charge, at the 2TS Focus on Breeding events on 27 and 28 October 2010 (see the BPEX calendar for details). Spaces will be limited so please register your interest as soon as possible with Clancy Smith: kt@bpex.org.uk or 0247 647 8793.

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Carcase Chilling Study

Institut du Porc (IFIP) has done a study on carcase chilling and pork quality. Two chilling rates from distinctive slaughterhouses were tested on pork carcases. Meat quality parameters (early pH and ultimate pH) and carcase characteristics (sire genetic, carcase weight) were similar for the two chilling treatments, that made the comparative study possible.

When chilling rate is faster, drip loss is 21% lower and shear force after two days of maturation is 21% higher. Another significant effect of chilling rate was its interaction with occurrence of destructured hams defect: slow chilling increased the frequency of the defect on hams with similar meat quality parameters by more than three times. The chilling rate after slaughter could be a process factor useful for controlling the ‘PSE-like zones’ defect frequency in the pork industry. Click here for more.

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BPHS Dates

Below are the latest BPHS assessment dates.



F A Gill

Monday 20 September

Woodhead Bros - Colne

Monday 20 September

Cranswick Norfolk

Wednesday 22 September

Tulip Westerleigh

Wednesday 22 September

Vion Malton

Wednesday 22 September

Woodhead Bros - Spalding

Friday 24 September

Tulip Ashton

Friday 24 September


Thursday 30 September

Vion Wiveliscombe

Thursday 30 September

Cranswick Norfolk

Thursday 30 September

Tulip Westerleigh

Thursday 30 September

Vion Malton

Thursday 30 September

Assessment dates for June to December 2010 in all participating abattoirs have been published and are available on the BPEX website.

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National News:

Assurance Scheme Evaluation

The Food Standards Agency is commissioning an evaluation and comparison of third party assurance schemes that focus on food and feed hygiene and standards.

Schemes are generally run as product certification schemes and use regular independent inspections to check that participants are meeting specific scheme standards.

The emphasis varies between schemes but most commonly the standards cover food safety, animal health and welfare and environmental impact. In some cases consumer products carry a logo to indicate that the product has been produced according to these standards. Some examples include the Red Tractor, Lion eggs, SGC (Scottish Quality Crops) and AIC (Agricultural Industries Confederation – feed scheme).

The evaluation should:

  • Identify current third party assurance schemes operating in the food sector in England
  • Establish criteria for acceptability of third party assurance schemes
  • Measure a number of assurance schemes against this criteria

The study should also aim to consider the outcomes of third party assurance schemes and to what extent compliance with food legislation is improved.

To read more click here.

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Figuring Out Improvements


Good information is essential for running a good pig business and BPEX has just launched a new section on its website site which offers just that.

The Key Performance Indicators section on the Market Intelligence area has been completely revamped and updated and offers a vital tool to producers keen to improve productivity and profitability.

Using Agrosoft data, figures will be available for indoor and outdoor breeding herds, rearing 7-35kg, finishing 35-110kg and combined rearer-finisher herds 7-110kg.

To access the new section please visit www.bpex.org.uk and go to Market Intelligence. If it is your first visit, you will have to register.

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Fleeting Visit

Want to reduce visits from Trading Standards from typically over an hour, to just a few minutes? Sign up to electronic movement reporting here and your next visit from Trading Standards will be over almost before it has begun.

Producer Richard Lister, who has been reporting movements electronically for some time, found his last Trading Standards visit was over in just ten minutes.
“All he had to do was explain the system to the inspector and show him all the information on screen - no faffing about trying to find lots of paperwork,” reports Andrew Knowles at BPEX.

This reduction in red-tape has been welcomed by NPA general manager Barney Kay. "Now we just need to get government to mandate farm assurance bodies to provide Trading Standards with the information so they don’t have to make the visit in the first place.”

Source: National Pig Association

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Environment Permits Latest

Farmers with, or intending to obtain, Environmental Permitting Regulations (IPPC) permits can find the latest Environment Agency newsletter on its website here. Topics covered include: permit compliance and top breaches, Farm Assurance Scheme inspections, new and revised guidance and dealing with odour issues.

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Meat Inspection Costs

The BMPA is currently in discussion with the Food Standards Agency over its intention to implement full cost recovery in respect of official meat controls.

Stephen Rossides, Director of the BMPA, said: “The industry is not being offered any meaningful choice here. If the FSA is intent on implementing full cost recovery from industry of official meat controls, this must be accompanied by cuts in the Agency’s operational and overhead costs in delivering inspections. If the FSA is not willing or able to get a grip on its own inflated costs, then we should be looking very seriously at a radical alternative approach to delivering official controls, including through the private sector.”

Click here for full details of the BMPA's position.


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Wrong About Veganism

George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian this week: I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat – but farm it properly. I still believe that the diversion of ever wider tracts of arable land from feeding people to feeding livestock is iniquitous and grotesque. So does the book I'm about to discuss. I no longer believe that the only ethical response is to stop eating meat.

In Meat: A Benign Extravagance, Simon Fairlie pays handsome tribute to vegans for opening up the debate. He then subjects their case to the first treatment I've read that is both objective and forensic. His book is an abattoir for misleading claims and dodgy figures, on both sides of the argument. There's no doubt that the livestock system has gone horribly wrong. Fairlie describes the feedlot beef industry (in which animals are kept in pens) in the US as "one of the biggest ecological cock-ups in modern history". It pumps grain and forage from irrigated pastures into the farm animal species least able to process them efficiently, to produce beef fatty enough for hamburger production. Cattle are excellent converters of grass but terrible converters of concentrated feed. The feed would have been much better used to make pork.

Pigs, in the meantime, have been forbidden in many parts of the rich world from doing what they do best: converting waste into meat. Click here to read the full article.

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Grain Outlook Offer


The HGCA Grain Market Outlook Conference 2010 takes place on Tuesday 5 October Central Hall, Westminster, London. Don’t miss out on the early bird rate for this year’s conference:

Early bird offer - £52.88 for levy payers, £164.50 for non levy payers (inc VAT)
Offer ends on Friday 17 September 2010.

The conference, HGCA’s flagship event, will take an in-depth look at the unique marketing season ahead. Speakers include AHDB cereals and oilseed analysts Jack Watts and David Eudall who will be exploring the quality and quantity of the crop, as well as possible destinations.

Guest speakers, including Steve Jesse of Barclays Capital, will offer a broader perspective, providing insight on the impact of the wider economy, from volatile currency, energy markets and investment fund activity to the global impact of China and Russia’s trade policies.

Rebecca Geraghty, HGCA Sector Director said: “With wheat prices moving over £60/tonne over the past month, we have again been reminded of the wide and complex set of drivers that influence the UK markets. This year’s Grain Market Outlook Conference is a must attend for anyone in the UK cereals and oilseeds supply chain.”

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International News:

French Sticker Campaign

French livestock producers have launched a campaign against low cost imports, which they blame for pushing down local pig and cattle prices to unsustainable levels.

Farmers this week began placing stickers on products on sale in major retail outlets, carrying slogans such as 'unfair produce' and 'unknown origin - ask for VPF (viande de porc francaise)'.

The campaign, which mirrors similar actions taken by milk producers earlier this year, will also see farmers demanding to see retailers' bills from suppliers. They say supermarkets and processors should do more to ensure that origin labelling is clearly and correctly displayed on meat products.

After three years of crisis, French beef and pig producers were hoping for an improvement in 2010, but a summer boost to prices has not materialised and the extra cost of cereals is hitting hard.

Farmers have called for an increase in the price they receive for their animals while urging the government to take steps to ease the problems faced by meat and livestock producers.

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MBM Back on the Menu?

Meat could once again be fed to animals under plans to relax rules introduced to prevent the transmission of BSE. The European Commission has published proposals to reduce the cost of guarding against BSE and its human form, new variant Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, which has claimed the lives of more than 200 people of which 169 were in the United Kingdom alone. Click here to read the full story.

Source: Pig Progress

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Dutch Welfare Labelling

At the end of November, Albert Heijn is due to sell pigmeat with one star from 'Animal Protection' (like RSPCA) in its outlets in South-Holland province. The launch has been postponed from mid-Sept so that AH is certain that all the meat is produced under the new conditions. From June 2011 the new meat should be in all the stores.

According to Vion, there are now 35 producers in the new programme. In the end there should be 120 to 130 medium-sized pig farms producing 20,000 pigs a week or 1 million a year.

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World Harvest Down

The FAO forecasts that world harvest will be 5% down on last year. This would still be the third highest harvest on record. Even European production shows increased yields despite the extreme weather pattern. Regarding the grain situation, the European Commission commented at the (market) Pig Management Meeting that it was not the time to make quick judgements given that the US had recently reported 'a bumper harvest' of soya beans.

To read the Export Bulletin click here.

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International Prices

For the latest international prices, click here.

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