UK pork production continues to decline
According to the latest figures from Defra, UK clean pig slaughterings were back 3% during September compared to a year earlier, at 910.5 thousand head.
This allows for adjustments to the 2015 figure to account for the change in the Defra reporting method starting in February this year. Declining slaughter rates support anecdotal evidence of a tightening of supplies, a situation which is further evidenced by the currently buoyant pig prices.
Despite this, the fall in slaughter number was partially counteracted by increasing average carcase weights; they were up by 1.1kg on the previous month and 1kg on September last year to reach 82.0kg. However, even with this increase, average carcase weight still remained well below the 83kg average seen during the difficult first three months of this year. Sow slaughterings were also reported to be up 1% during September, relative to the adjusted figure a year earlier, to 22,900 head. However, this follows two months of lower slaughterings and, with market prices currently positive, increased optimism amongst producers is likely encouraging maintenance of the breeding herd.
Altogether, the above figures translate into an overall 2% decline in pork production on adjusted year earlier figures during September 2016, at 78.0 thousand tonnes.
Bethan Wilkins, Trainee Analyst
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