Heavier pigs leads to higher UK pork production in April

Defra’s April 2022 figures show that 922,000 clean pigs were slaughtered in the UK, slightly down on a year ago, writes Meghan Taylor.

Though April’s figure shows that 3% (27,000) fewer clean pigs were slaughtered compared to April 2021, it brings the running total of clean pigs slaughtered so far this year to 3.8 million, which is broadly in line with a year ago.

Carcase weights remain elevated due to the remaining backlog of pigs on farms, with average clean carcase weights recorded as 90.9kg – down from 92.4kg in March but 3.5kg heavier than 2021’s April numbers, AHDB analyst Duncan Wyatt reported.

“Both the rate of slaughter, and the fact that weights are falling, indicate that progress is being made on the backlog at a national level. However, it appears patchy, as there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that some farms still have high numbers overdue for movement. Input costs have continued to rise sharply, and negative margins have only worsened. Heavy pigs make the situation worse for those that have lots of them,” he said.

The lower slaughter numbers and heavier weights equalled a pig meat production figure of 87,000 tonnes, in April, which is a 1.4% increase from April 2021. This means that overall, UK pork production in the first four months of 2022 saw a 5% increase from 2021’s first four-month period, with 363,500t.

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