High supplies continue in December
Latest figures from Defra confirm that UK pigs were in plentiful supply during December.
Clean pig slaughterings were 5% higher than a year earlier during the month, totalling 795,800 head. This indicates that productivity continues to improve and that growing conditions have been favourable, confirmed by carcase weights averaging a kilo and a half heavier than in December 2013. The figures also suggest that, as suspected, the UK herd has been more stable than was indicated by the decline recorded in Defra’s June survey results. The new figures mean that the total clean pig kill for the year was 10.22 million head, 2% up on 2013 and the highest level since 2002.
Throughout the second half of last year, adult sow and boar slaughterings had been below year earlier levels and this continued in December, with throughputs down 3% at 15,500 head. This meant that, at 242,600 head, 4% fewer adult pigs were culled in 2014 than the previous year. This made little difference to pig meat production, which was up 6% in December and 3% for the year as a whole. December’s figure of 66,400 tonnes was the highest for this time of year since 1999, while the annual total of 862,000 tonnes was last exceeded in 2000.