UK production growth continues in May
Latest figures from Defra show that the strong growth in UK pig meat production continued in May, with output over 5% higher than a year earlier at 66,700 tonnes.
At 789,400 head, the UK clean pig kill was also up by 5%, in line with the trend in most recent months. The year-on-year growth in slaughterings was similar across all parts of the UK, with Scotland and Northern Ireland also recording a 5% uplift. Although these figures add weight to the view that census results showing a declining breeding herd may have been pessimistic, they also confirm that the productivity of the UK’s sows continues to improve.
As well as the ongoing increase in pig numbers, carcase weights have also been consistently heavier over recent months. This trend continued in May, with the average of 81.2kg around three-quarters of a kilo heavier than in May 2014. However, the growth in production from clean pigs was again partly offset by lower sow slaughterings. Throughputs were 7% down on a year earlier at 18,000 head. Cullings have now declined for 12 consecutive months, adding to concerns that increased retention of sows could have an impact on productivity in the longer-term.