UK pig meat production ramps up in December

UK clean pig slaughter reached 934,400 head in December 2019, 12% more than the same month in the previous year.

In 2019, December had one more weekday compared to the previous year. However, many major processors likely worked additional days in the run-up to both Christmas and Chinese New Year.


An increase in slaughter was recorded in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, Scotland slaughtered a similar number to the previous year.

  • England and Wales up 11% to 734,000 head;
  • Scotland static at 27,000 head; and
  • Northern Ireland up 20% to 173,000 head.

Clean pig slaughter for 2019 totalled 10.9 million head, 2% more (208,800 head) than in the previous year. This was again the highest annual throughput since 2000.

Carcase weight
Finished pig carcase weights in December averaged 84.9kg, 1.4kg heavier than in in the previous year. However, weights were over half a kilo lighter than in November. Pigs are typically pulled forward before the Christmas period, for both logistical reasons and to capitalise on demand.

Overall, in 2019, carcase weights also averaged 84.9kg, 1.4kg (2%) higher than in the previous year.

Adult pig slaughter
Slaughter of sows and boars in December totalled 19,400 head, 15% higher than in the same month in the previous year. The uplift is likely somewhat attributed to the additional working day in December 2019.

In 2019, adult pig slaughter totalled 244,500 head, 6% (14,200 head) less than in the previous year.

In December, UK pig meat production reached 82,100 tonnes, 14% more than in the same month last year. This was supported by a combination of higher slaughter and heavier carcase weights. As such, production in 2019 totalled 959,600 tonnes, 3.4% higher than in the previous year and the highest since 1999.

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