UK slaughterings continue to be well down year-on-year

UK clean pig slaughterings continue to be well down year-on-year, supporting a stable price in the early months of 2017.

In February, slaughterings were 12% lower than the same month in 2016, at 769,000 head, according to latest figures from Defra.

This continues the trend seen over the past few months on the back of an assumed contraction in the UK breeding herd last year, according to AHDB Pork.

Once the figures were adjusted to account for the extra working day in February 2016, overall slaughterings were still down by 9%, while sow slaughterings recorded a decrease of 18% year on year at just under 18,000 head. Similar to clean pig slaughterings, the trend in sow slaughterings follows the downward trend seen over the past months.

In February, carcase weights were marginally higher (400g) on the year at 83.9kg/head. Furthermore, due to the reduction in throughput and only a slight increase in carcase weights, pigmeat production in February fell by 9% on the year at 67,000 tonnes..

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The latest EU-spec Standard Pig Price stood at just over 150/kg, following a second successive weekly rise, and continuing a period of price stability since the turn of the year.

The price remains nearly 38p higher than a year ago, with supplies tightening even further in March as estimated slaughterings fell by nearly 6,000 head on the week ending March 11 at 157,100 head, 18,600 lower than the same week in 2016. This continued the development of last week of a much sharper fall in slaughterings on 2016.

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About The Author

Editor of Pig World and contributor to LBM’s other farming publications. Also National Pig Association webmaster. Formerly political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years. Enjoy a bit of media punditry. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm. Work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Under-9 football coach and big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.