UK pork production continues to grow
The strong growth of UK pig meat production continued in June, with output at 68,500 tonnes, up by 6% compared with a year earlier.
This was the 22nd consecutive month with production rising year on year and the fifth straight month with growth of 5% or more. These high supplies continue to put downward pressure on prices at a time when consumer demand remains subdued. The main driver of the increase in production was a 5% rise in clean pig slaughterings, which totalled 812,500 head during the month. A similar rate of increase was seen in England and Northern Ireland, while Scottish throughputs were up by a slightly smaller 2% compared with June 2015.
Clean pig carcase weights averaged 80.5kg during June. This was the lowest average since August 2014 but was still over half a kilo up on a year earlier, contributing to the increased production. Also adding to output was a 7% year-on-year rise in sow slaughterings, the first increase in over a year. This may be just a case of cullings returning to normal after a period of low throughputs. However, given that cull sow prices are still very low, it could be the first sign of producers feeling the effect of the current negative margins. Developments in the coming months will make it clearer whether this marks a significant change of direction or not.