EU pig slaughterings in May were over 2% down on the same month last year, according to the latest figures from Eurostat.
Throughputs totalled 20.4 million head, nearly half a million fewer than in May 2012. This means that the number of pigs killed across the EU in the first five months of this year is running 1% lower on the year at 102.9 million head.
With carcase weights slightly higher than last year, pig meat production in the EU for the year to date is only marginally down on 2012 at 9.28 million tonnes. However, production in May also dipped 2% in line with the fewer number of pigs processed.
There were contrasting trends in different member states across the EU in May, with some countries that had seen sharp falls earlier in the year continuing in the same vein. Polish throughputs were 14% lower than last May, for example.
Elsewhere, large falls were recorded in Spain and the Netherlands (both down 8%). In the latter, this might be partly due to increased exports of live pigs, leaving fewer for slaughter domestically.
Throughputs were higher on the year in Germany, Belgium and Italy, among others. However, the sharpest rise was in Denmark, where the May kill was up 11%. Even this was not large enough to fully offset falls earlier in the year, so Danish slaughterings for so far in 2013 are still down by 3%.