UK production growth continues in March
Latest figures from Defra show that the growth in UK pig meat production continued in March.
Total output during the month was 69,300 tonnes, 5% higher than in the same month last year. This is the highest March figure since 2000 and marks the seventh straight month during which pig meat production has risen by 3% or more year on year. This growth is one of the key reasons why UK pig prices have been under pressure during this period as consumer demand has been subdued. Despite these price falls putting many producers back in the red, there is still no sign that this is leading to an increase in sow slaughterings. Indeed, the number of adult pigs killed was 1% lower than in March 2014, at 19,500 head.
The rise in production was driven by a 4% annual increase in clean pig slaughterings during March, to 810,000 head. This continues the trend of most recent months, as further productivity gains mean there are more pigs available. All parts of the UK recorded increased throughputs during the month, although the rate of growth was slightly slower in Scotland (up 1%) and Northern Ireland (up 2%) than in England & Wales. Despite being slightly lower than the previous two months, carcase weights still averaged nearly a kilo heavier than a year before, at 81.8kg. This also contributed to the higher meat production.