UK slaughterings down but production up
Latest figures published by Defra recorded a 1% decline in UK clean pig slaughterings in April, to 937,200 head. However, with heavier carcase weights, total pig meat production in April increased 1% on the year to 79,000 tonnes.
Latest figures published by Defra recorded a 1% decline in UK clean pig slaughterings in April, to 937,200 head. Fewer working days in April, due to the later Easter Bank Holidays this year, are likely to have affected the kill numbers. Although slaughterings in England remained almost the same as last April at 761,400 head, Scottish throughputs were down by 9% year on year. However, Scotland kills only around 3% of the total and hence has a limited impact on the overall figures. The decline was, therefore, mainly driven by a 4% fall in Northern Ireland slaughterings. This brings the slaughtering figures for the first four months of the year to 3.4 million head, similar to the same period last year, indicating stable supplies.
UK adult pig slaughterings in April totalled 24,100 head, around 3% down on the same month in 2013, a similar rate of decline to the year to date. Reportedly lower sow prices and a younger herd are likely the main factors. The average clean pig carcase weight in April fell to 80.5kg, the lowest monthly figure since the turn of the year but the highest April figure on record. The seasonal fall in weights has been less apparent this year. As a result, total pig meat production in April increased to 79,000 tonnes. This was 1% higher than the same month in 2013. Given the higher carcase weights throughout the year, pig meat production in the first four months of this year totalled 291,000 tonnes, up almost 2% on the same period last year.