Strong UK production continues
For the sixth month in a row, UK clean pig slaughterings rose by more than 3% in July.
Throughputs during the month topped 1 million head, the first time that has happened at this time of year since 2000. So far this year, over 200,000 more pigs have been slaughtered than during the same period last year, driven by further improvements in herd productivity. The growth rate in July was actually the lowest since January, which may be partly because the hot spell at the start of the month slowed growth rates, leading to marketing of some pigs being delayed. There were increases across all parts of the UK, although Scottish and Northern Irish throughputs rose slightly more slowly than those in England.
For the second month in a row, sow and boar slaughterings were above year earlier levels, albeit by only 2%. This follows a year of declining throughputs, driven, in part, by low cull sow prices. Carcase weights also increased for both clean pigs and sows but the average weight for the former, 80.0kg, was the lowest since last July and the year-on-year rise of less than 500g was the smallest in two years. The net result was that pig meat production was up 4% on the year, at 83,700 tonnes. With supplies remaining relatively plentiful, there was little to relieve the pressure on the pig market which has kept prices low so far this year.