UK production starting to stabilise
According to the latest DEFRA figures, pig slaughterings for May were up, to 863 thousand head, on the same period a year earlier.
However, if you allow for a change in reporting periods, the latest figure actually represents a 0.5% fall in slaughtering levels on May 2015. This decline in slaughterings may start to provide a tightening of supplies, which will further support the UK pig price, which has been slowly recovering since April.
In addition to fewer pigs coming forward to slaughter, the average carcase weight fell in May, to 81.3kg. This is the first time this year that the average carcase weight has fallen below 82kg, and is now at similar levels to May 2015, only 0.1kg heavier.
Sow slaughterings continued to be ahead of 2015 levels, 4% more than the adjusted figure, at 20,700 head. This continues the trend that has been recorded in 2016 to date, supporting the expectation of a contraction in the breeding herd, resulting in a tightening of supplies in the future. Some of this tightening may already be being experienced, with adjusted production levels down modestly by 0.3% in May, on the same period a year earlier.
Vikki Campbell, Senior Analyst
vikki.Campbell@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8741