Genesus Global Market Report France, September 2021

Genesus Global Market Report
France, September 2021

By Philippe Mallétroit – Director for France, Genesus Inc.

Unlike other European countries, where prices have fallen continuously this summer, hog market price in France remained at 1.345 € per kg carcass since July, 19.

The German official reference lost 12 cents (per kg carcass) during August under the strong pressure of the packing plants whose meat sales are still very laborious. European competition has been aggressive since the decline in Chinese purchases.

The other European places highly connected to the German market dropped too: Netherlands (- 7cts per kg carcass), Belgium (- 7 cts per kg live weight), Austria (- 10 cts per kg).

For the last 11 weeks, prices continue to decrease in Spain. It is very unusual for summer.

SPACE 2021

After a 2020 edition canceled due to COVID, 2021 marked the return of SPACE, the main international livestock show in France, from September 14 to 16.

First of all, for the first time, the SPACE took place over three days instead of the usual four. Several exhibitors are quite in favour of this, as usually the day of Friday (4th day) marked a lower attendance.

The number of visitors was down compared to the 2019 edition (about 15-20% fewer visitors according to the first estimates). This year due to COVID, each visitor had to have a heath pass or a negative COVID test and wear a mask to access the exhibition. Compared to previous years, there were fewer exhibitors also

During the show we heard many discussions about :

Economic situation
With a continuous increase in feed prices since the beginning of the year, but also a 3.92 % decrease in hog market prices over the first 8 months of the year compared to 2020 (€1,372 average price in 2021 vs €1,428 in 2020), the economic situation is very difficult for many producers. Some of the biggest cooperatives warned their producers about the end of 2021 that will be more complicated.

End of castration
From the 1st of January 2022, French producers won’t be allowed to castrate males anymore (unless special derogation), but for many people the situation is unclear. The most asked question by French producers is “could I market my non-castrated males?” In fact, Bigard, one of the main French packing plants, is not ready to buy non-castrated males.

Moreover, the grading system payment of the carcass should probably change (a non-castrated male is leaner than a barrow or a female) and in France, the leaner is a pig, the more he is paid. Of course, after the 1st of January 2022 packing plants won’t pay more for a male (non-castrated) than today. About packing plants that won’t be ready to buy non-castrated males, will they be ready to pay an extra premium to their producers (who will have lower performances than producers who produce non-castrated males)?

A lot of questions without answers for the moment.

Animal welfare
Animal welfare is a subject that is taking up more and more space within French society but also at the European level. First step will be the end of castration on January 1st, but when will producers have to use free farrowing pens? We don’t know exactly yet, but all equipment companies propose and promote these products.

Lack of manpower
Several farmers explained to us the great difficulty they had in recruiting employees. The lack of manpower in agriculture, livestock farms especially, is a growing concern. More and more producers are looking for an efficient system, without too much management and extra work.

Source : Marché du Porc Breton