Pig meat supplies fall in January
While UK clean pig slaughterings in January were reported by Defra to be level with the calendar month in 2016, this was due to there being an extra working day in January 2017 compared with 2016.
When the slaughtering figures are adjusted so they can be compared on a like for like basis, they are seen to be over 5% lower than a year earlier at 849,600 head. Overall, this continues the trend of lower slaughterings seen in previous months, driven by the fall in the size of the breeding herd that occurred last year.
Sow slaughterings were 17% lower than in the previous year at 19,200 head. This is after figures were adjusted to account for the change in reporting methodology and extra working day in January 2017. This followed the trend seen in the previous month, possibly a result of the smaller breeding herd meaning there are fewer sows to be slaughtered. Carcase weights were level with the same month in 2016 at 83.8kg. This is the first time since 2015 that weights have not increased. This all meant that while pork production in January appeared to be level at 74,000 tonnes, this apparent stability was again due to there being an extra working day in 2017 and production on a like for like basis was actually 5% lower.
Mark Kozlowski - Senior analyst