According to the latest data released by Defra, UK clean pig slaughter reached 944,400 head in March, 10% more (85,000 head) than in March 2019.
In the first quarter of this year, UK clean pig slaughter totalled 2.76 million head, 5% (131,000 head) more than in the previous year, with March alone accounting for 65% of this increase.
Reports suggest some pig slaughter has been brought forward to reduce the potential for future difficulties in the supply chain brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, but an additional weekday in the March also influenced the increase.
All UK countries recorded a considerable uplift in slaughter in March. England & Wales accounted for the majority with at 10% uplift to 751,000 head, Scotland saw a 7% rise to 30,000 head, and Northern Ireland also say a 10% increase to 163,000 head.
Finished pig carcase weights in March averaged 86.6kg, 1.0kg (1%) more than in the same month last year, although down 0.2kg on weights recorded in February. Whilst seasonal decline is typically seen at this time of year, this may also be due to producers pulling pigs close to finishing forwards, this year, which would reduce the overall average.
Adult Pig Slaughter
Slaughter of sows and boars also recorded a rise in March, with adult slaughter totalling 21,300 head, 1% (300 head) more than at the same time last year.
In March, UK pig meat production reached 84,800 tonnes, 11% (8,100 tonnes) more the same month in the previous year. In the first three months of this year, UK production totalled 248,100 tonnes, 6% (14,300 tonnes) more than in the same period last year.