UK pig supplies remain high
Latest figures from Defra confirm that UK pig supplies remained high during April. Slaughterings were up over 3% compared with a year earlier, to 969,000 head.
Throughputs have now been up year on year for 12 consecutive months, with nearly 300,000 extra pigs processed during that period. Slaughterings in Northern Ireland were up by 4%, slightly more than in England, but figures for Scotland are not yet available. Carcase weights during the month were at their lightest since August, averaging 81.6kg. However, with falling weights normal for the time of year, this was still over a kilo heavier than in April 2014.
In contrast, sow slaughterings continue to run below year earlier levels, declining for the 11th straight month. At 22,700 head, they were 6% down on last April. Once again there is little indication that the drop in pig prices is leading to producers reducing or liquidating their herds. Indeed, low cull prices are evidently continuing to discourage producers from replacing some sows. The fall in sow meat production was insufficient to offset the higher clean pig numbers and weights and pig meat production during April was up 4% on the year at 82,400 tonnes.