The latest statistics from Defra show that the UK produced 86,200 tonnes of pig meat in July, a 9% (7,300 tonnes) increase on the amount produced in July last year, and is the highest July pig meat production figure in the last 20 years.
The statistics shows that the rise in production is due to mostly to a rise in clean pig slaughter, while dressed carcase weights were also slightly heavier on the year. A total of 963,700 clean pigs were processed by UK abattoirs in July, up 6% (57,000 head) on the year. Slaughter of sows and boars totalled 23,200 head, up 21% (4,100 head) on the year.*
AHDB analyst Hannah Clark said that improving foodservice demand may have offered some support to finished pig numbers in July, while the recent reopening of a key German sow processing plant and a welcome stabilisation in continental sow prices may have supported sow throughput. Defra’s sample size remains lower than usual, and so sow numbers in particular should be treated with caution.
Ms Clarke said: “The July figures put UK pig meat production for January-July (inclusive) at 561,200 tonnes, up 4% (19,000 tonnes) from the same period in 2019. Clean pig slaughter for the same period stands at 6.3 million head, up 2% (122,100 head) on the year. Adult pig slaughter for the year-to-date stands at 141,200 head, down 1% (900 head) on the year.
*Defra have noted that the survey response in their latest release was lower than usual due to the disruption caused by COVID-19. To compensate they have made greater use of Food Standards Agency throughput data. This may affect how animal numbers are split between classifications, i.e. how animals are split between clean pigs, sows and boars. As such, the data should be treated with some caution and is subject to revision.