Little change again in October clean pig kill

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

By Bethan Wilkins

UK clean pig slaughter numbers were similar to both the previous month and year-earlier levels in October, totalling 950,500 head. This was 3.5% down compared to the October 2020, however this small decline will have been influenced by one fewer weekday in the month this year.

The number of pigs killed in England and Wales reflected the overall trend and was similar to last year (-2%) at 755,000 head. Northern Ireland figures stood at 171,000 head, another small decline of 4% compared to last year’s level. Meanwhile, slaughter in Scotland was low for yet another month, totalling 24,000 head, which is around 25% below last year. Reports indicate throughput has still been curtailed at the largest Scottish pig abattoir.

Clean pig slaughter for the first ten months of this year totals nearly 9.4 million head, 3% more than the corresponding period in 2020.

Chart of weekly pig slaughter to October 2021

The average UK clean pig carcase weight was noticeably higher than the previous month. At 91.5kg, the average weight was about 3kg higher than both the previous month and October last year.

The reported number of sows and adult boars slaughtered in October was extremely low, at under 13,000 head. AHDB also estimates weekly sow slaughter based on sample data from key companies processing sows. We do not have full October data yet, but even for just the first three weeks of the month our sample contains more sows than the published Defra figure. Defra have had lower responses to their slaughter survey since the pandemic began and on some occasions FSA data has been used instead. FSA data does not necessarily classify animals in the same way within species. For October (and also August) it seems in the region of 6,000 sows may have been recorded as clean pigs. This does not materially change the story regarding clean pig throughput.

Altogether, total pig meat production for October was recorded as 88,900 tonnes, 1% lower than a year earlier.

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