UK production growth slows in November
UK pig meat production during November was only 1% higher than a year earlier, at 75,300 tonnes, according to latest figures from Defra.
Other than September, this was the lowest growth rate since early 2014, when production was still being affected by the reduction in the breeding herd during 2012 due to high feed prices. Clean pig slaughterings during the month were up 2% compared with November 2014, at 885,800 head. This meant weekly slaughterings were at their highest level for any month since November 2000. Throughputs in England and Northern Ireland were both up 2% year on year, but there was a 1% fall in the Scottish kill.
The higher slaughterings were partly offset by lighter carcase weights. The average clean pig carcase weighed 81.7kg during November, around 600g lower than a year before. This was the fourth month in a row when weights have been lighter than 12 months earlier but this follows particularly sharp increases last autumn. Sow slaughterings continued the recent trend and were 5% above 2014 levels, at 19,700 head. However, that is more a reflection of the low level of cullings last year than any sign that sow numbers may be starting to fall, as recent figures have been close to long-term averages.