UK slaughter flat in the first quarter
UK clean pig slaughter in March totalled 854,600 head, under 1% lower than the same month in 2018. Factory breakdowns had limited supplies for much of March, but higher throughput at the end of the month compensated for this.
Throughput fell further in England and Wales, decreasing by over 1% to 683,000 head. Pig slaughter in Scotland also fell by 5% on a year earlier. However, throughput in Northern Ireland rose by 2%. DEARA slaughter figures show that this growth comes from a larger domestic supply, rather than live imports from the Republic.
Meanwhile, adult pig slaughter in March totalled 21,000 head, almost 4% lower than the same month in 2018. This is the second consecutive month of decline.
Clean pig carcase weights during the month averaged 85.1kg, up 2% on the same period in 2018 and on par with the elevated levels in February. Rolled pigs probably influenced this. Consequentially, pig meat production increased by 1% year on year to 75,800 tonnes in March.
UK clean pig slaughter in the first quarter of this year showed some stability, with only a marginal decrease on a year earlier, to 2.63 million head. However, higher carcase weights boosted pig meat production, which was fractionally up at 232,200 tonnes.
These figures are broadly in line with our January production forecast. An updated outlook for UK pig meat supplies, taking into account the latest industry intelligence, will be available at the end of April.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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