UK clean pig slaughterings fell by 4% on the year in July to 828,500 head, according to latest data from Defra, with throughputs for the first seven months of the year, at 5.9 million head, 6% lower than the same period last year.
Sow slaughterings declined on the year for the seventh consecutive month in July. At 17,800 head, the latest sow throughputs are 4% lower than July 2016 and take year to date slaughterings to 134,500 thousand head, 14% lower than the same period last year.
AHDB Pork said the fall in clean pig slaughterings during July reflects the sentiment that domestic pig meat supplies have been tight since the start of the year, driven by an assumed contraction in the domestic breeding herd. However, the continued slowdown in sow slaughterings supports reports that producers are no longer rationalising their herds, with pig prices recovering considerably from the multi-year lows in spring 2016.
Average clean pig slaughter weights in July climbed slightly for the first time in five months, to 81.9kg. The current weight is 1.4kg heavier than same period last year.
The fall in the number of pigs slaughtered during July, outweighed the slight rise in average weights, resulting in pig meat production falling by 3% on year to 70,500 tonnes. This takes year to date pig meat production up to 507,400t, 6% down on the same period in 2016.