Heavier pigs mean pig meat production continues to rise

Thursday, 10 March 2022

UK pig meat production for February totalled 89,400 tonnes, according to the latest released data by Defra. This is up 5% from January and up 6% compared to last year.

chart showing pig meat production up to feb22

The number of clean pigs slaughtered increased to 916,200 head in February up 5% (43,400 head) from January, however it is only an increase of 1% compared to 2021. This means increased production is currently linked to heavier pigs instead of increased throughput, meaning the backlog of pigs is still some way off being cleared. Limited butchery capacity in abattoirs currently makes increasing throughput a challenge, however with the easing of coronavirus restrictions at the end of February we may see small increases in capacity going forward.

chart showing number of clean pig slaughtered up to feb22

 The average carcase weight for February was 94.0kg/head (down only 0.3kg/head from January) is 4.5kg/head heavier than a year ago and 7.7kg/head above the 3-year average. These heavier weights are one of our best ‘real time’ evidence of the backlog of pigs on farm, as producers are compelled to hold onto pigs for longer, and with little reduction it indicates little progress has been made on reducing the backlog through slaughter.

graph showing average monthly carcase weights

Image of staff member Freya Shuttleworth

Freya Shuttleworth

Analyst (Dairy & Livestock)

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