Wednesday, 2 June 2021
By Bethan Wilkins
Defra has revised downwards the published pig slaughter statistics for April.
At 959,000 head, UK clean pig slaughter in April was still well above the level in April last year, but the annual increase is now 5%, compared to the 12% previously published. This level of increase is more in line both with our expectations, and the AHDB GB weekly slaughter estimates published during that month.
The recorded increase is similar to that seen in the previous two months. It is encouraging that pig prices continued to firm during the month.
Adding to supply levels, carcase weights for clean pigs remained well above last year’s level. The average weight during April was 87.9 kg, 600 g lighter than in March but 1.8 kg heavier than in April 2020.
There has been a significant downward revision in sow slaughter compared to the original statistics release. The latest figure for the month is 19,900 head, 11% lower than the year before. Originally, a figure of 28,100 head, 25% more than last year, had been reported. The decline in the latest figures is in contrast to the previous couple of months, when culling had been elevated, likely influenced by previous logistical challenges exporting carcases to Europe. The recent lower figure for April suggests it is perhaps less likely breeding herd contraction is underway, even though profitability is currently poor.
The latest figures all combine to now give a 7% rise in pig meat production compared to April 2020, totalling 87,200 tonnes during the month.
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