February UK kill continues ahead of last year
Latest Defra data suggest that in February, clean pig slaughtering in the UK was 815,800 head, 4% up on February 2014.
This provides confirmation of industry reports of continued ample supplies at that time. Northern Ireland again reported the highest increase in kill as growth in its herd becomes evident throughout the supply chain but all parts of the UK recorded year-on-year growth. Sow and boar slaughterings were reportedly 2% back on last February, at 19,100 head. As cull sow prices continue to be poor, increased retention is likely as sow replacement becomes less economically attractive, which could negatively impact the efficiency of production in the coming months.
The figures also show that, although carcase weights were down marginally on January, at 82.3kg, this was over a kilogram heavier than in February 2014. This, alongside higher throughputs, resulted in a 6% year on year increase in pig meat production, to 70,500 tonnes for the month. As slaughterings for the first two months of 2015 are up on those in 2014 by almost 3%, the downwards movement of finished pig prices clearly continues to be, in part, supply driven.