UK pigmeat production recorded a 5% year-on-year increase in March, reaching a total of 79,800 tonnes, according to AHDB Pork.
Based on the latest figures from Defra, clean pig slaughterings for the month were up by 3%, at 920,000 head, which is in line with expectations, given the slight increase in the breeding herd during 2015 and the impact of further productivity gains.
“As well as the larger number of clean pigs processed, they were also heavier than in March 2015,” said AHDB Pork, adding that the average carcase weight of 83.1kg was well over a kilo higher than a year before.
“In addition, the difficult financial position of producers meant that sow slaughterings remained inflated. Throughputs during the month totalled 23,400 head, around 10% more than the adjusted figure for last March.”
So far this year, around 7,500 more sows have been slaughtered than in the first three months of 2015.
“This might indicate some contraction of the breeding herd is underway, particularly if the increase is sustained,” said AHDB Pork.