AHDB Pork advises “caution” regarding latest Defra pig sector figures

A warning to treat the most recent Defra figures with some “caution” as they relate to UK clean pig slaughterings, is included in AHDB Pork’s analysis of what may actually have happened in July.

According to Defra’s figures, slaughterings were up 6% year on year in July, at 891,200 head, a result which follows two months when slaughterings were lower than a year earlier.

“This amount of volatility is unusual,” said AHDB Pork, “so the latest figures should be treated with some caution for the time being.

“Taking the last three months together, overall throughputs were only marginally up on the same period in 2015, which may be a more reliable indication of trends. The relatively tight supply situation this suggests matches recent industry reports and is consistent with the rising trend of pig prices throughout this period.”

Defra’s figures also show a fall in sow slaughterings, compared with a year earlier, for the first time since last May.

“Throughputs totalled 18,600 head, 4% down on July 2015, perhaps indicating that rising pig prices have created a more optimistic climate for producers,” said AHDB Pork.

“Clean pig carcase weights remained above last year’s levels, averaging 80.6kg, 700g more than a year before. Added to the rise in slaughterings, this meant that pigmeat production was reported to be up 7%, at 74,600 tonnes.

“As with the slaughtering figures, though, this should be treated with some caution; the rise over the last three months was a much more modest 1%.”

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