UK pork supplies increase in October

Clean pig slaughter in the UK in October reached just over one million head. This was almost 4% above the same month last year.

Recently, there have been some anecdotal reports that there could be an upcoming tightening of supply, following from difficulties with disease levels in the summer months.

However, this doesn’t seem to have limited slaughter levels so far. Pig slaughter generally increases during October, but the latest monthly figure was the highest since Defra switched reporting methods in 2016.

The overall increase was largely a result of a 4% increase in English throughput. Pig slaughter in Northern Ireland also increased by 4% year-on-year, but the Scottish kill was down by 5%. This was the second consecutive month of falling Scottish throughput.

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In contrast, at 22,000 head, the number of adult boars and sows culled fell by 9% compared with October 2018. This reflects the younger breeding herd this year following a high cull rate last year. Producers are probably also keen to retain their herd given the improvement in profitability.

At 85.5kg, the average clean pig carcase weight was nearly 1kg higher than in the previous month. Pig were 1.5kg heavier than during October 2018.

Bethan Wilkins, AHDB’s analyst, said: “With higher slaughter and heavier carcase weights, pig meat production in October totalled 88,900 tonnes. This meant there was 5% more domestic pig meat on the market than a year earlier.”

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