Pig supplies remain slim in April
At 785,900 head, clean pig slaughterings in April were well below (-11%) year earlier levels according to the latest figures from Defra.
This adds further confirmation to industry sentiments, that UK pig supplies have been tight since the start of the year. However, the extent of this decline will have been influenced by the later Easter holiday period this year compared to 2016. AHDB estimates indicate that the tight pig supply continued into May as well.
Clean pig carcase weights remained above equivalent 2016 levels, therefore partially counteracting the decline in throughput. At 83kg, the average weight for April was 700g heavier than in the same month last year. Nonetheless, the current weight is 300g lower than March’s average, which adds further emphasis to the tightening of domestic pig meat supplies.
Sow slaughterings also remained depressed during April, at 17,300 head. This was a notable 22% lower than April 2016. It’s worth noting, as for clean pigs, throughputs will have been affected by disruption in trade due to the Easter holiday period. Nonetheless, this continues the trend of the year so far, and supports the expectation that producers are no longer rationalising their herds as was the case last year.
Altogether, these factors resulted in a 10% year-on-year decline in pig meat production during April, to 67,700 tonnes.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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