Fall in UK pig slaughterings largely ended in August
At 895.5 thousand head, UK clean pig slaughterings were down just 0.2% on year earlier values in August, according to the latest data from Defra. This takes year to date (January – August) throughputs up to 6.8 million head, 3% lower than in the equivalent period of 2016.
As in recent months, the fall in clean pig slaughterings on the year reflects the industry sentiment that domestic pig meat supplies are tight. However, considering that August declines are smaller than previously observed, this may tentatively support the assumption that the UK pig herd would recover during second half of 2017 following declines in the domestic breeding herd last year.
Sow slaughterings in August increased year on year for the first time since December 2016. At 21.1 thousand head, sow throughputs are 8% higher than in August 2016 and bring year to date sow slaughterings to 155.9 thousand head; 9% lower year on year.
Average clean pig slaughter weights increased for the second consecutive month to 82.9kg, recovering on falls since a peak in February. The current weight is almost 3% (2.1kg) higher than the same month last year. Hence, despite the slight fall in number of clean pigs slaughtered, the increase in average weights resulted in UK pig meat production rising by over 2% on the year in August, to 77.2 thousand tonnes. This takes year to date pig meat production up to 585.2 thousand tonnes, a 2% decline on the same period in 2016.
Annie Linekar, Trainee Analyst
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