New figures published by Defra show a 1% decline in UK clean pig slaughterings in April 2014. About 937,200 head were processed, with fewer working days, due to the later Easter Bank Holidays this year, most likely to have affected kill numbers.
Although slaughterings in England remained almost the same as last April at 761,400 head, Scottish throughputs were down by 9% year on year. However, Scotland kills only around 3% of the total and has a limited impact on the overall figures.
The decline was, therefore, mainly driven by a 4% fall in Northern Ireland slaughterings. This brings the slaughtering figures for the first four months of the year to 3.4 million head, similar to the same period last year, indicating stable supplies.
The average clean pig carcase weight in April fell to 80.5kg, the lowest monthly figure since the turn of the year. However, this is still the highest April figure on record.
The seasonal fall in weights has been less apparent this year, and as a result, total pig meat production in April increased to 79,000 tonnes. This was 1% higher than the same month in 2013.
Given the higher carcase weights throughout the year, pig meat production in the first four months of 2014 totalled 291,000 tonnes, up almost 2% on the same period last year.