Higher carcase weights help production in September
In September, clean pig slaughterings in the UK totalled 876,500 head, 4% down on the year, according to latest data from Defra.
However, it is worth noting that there was an extra working day in September 2016, therefore slaughterings were actually marginally higher than year earlier levels. Overall, year-to-date (January – September) slaughter was 3% behind the first nine months of 2016, at 7.7 million head.
While the overall trend was largely driven by English slaughterings, which accounted for 83% of UK clean pig throughputs in September, there were different dynamics in the smaller regions. Scottish slaughterings were minimal for a second month in a row (6,000 head, 77% lower than in 2016), as a major plant remained offline. Conversely, in Northern Ireland, slaughterings picked up to 144,000 head, an 8% increase year on year.
UK pig meat production reported a smaller 2% decline on the year during September, totalling 76,300 tonnes. When accounting for the extra working day last year, production on a like-for-like basis was actually higher on the year. This follows from a notable increase in average carcase weights, which reached 84.1kg, a new record high. Pig meat production from January-September was down almost 3% on the year, at 662,100 tonnes.
Sow and boar slaughterings in September were a notable 13% lower on the year, at 19,900 head. This likely reflects the increased profitability of producers this year, and continues a trend seen throughout much of 2017. Sow and boar slaughterings for the year to date were down 11% overall, at 175,800 head.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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