UK average carcase weights break 90kg barrier in January

Thursday, 18 February 2021

By Felicity Rusk

In January, UK clean pig slaughter totalled 862,100 head. While this is a 10% decline compared to last year, it is important to note that January 2021 had two fewer working days* than January 2020. When looking at slaughter on a per working day* basis, throughputs in January 2021 were only around 1% lower than in 2020, averaging at 43,100 head per day. It seems that challenges remain at processor level due to the pandemic.

Slaughter of adult pigs also fell in January. Throughputs fell by just under 29% on the year, totalling 14,400 head. Similarly, slaughter also declined by around 22% on a per working day* basis. The cull sow market has been challenging recently, with reports suggesting there have been some difficulties exporting carcases to the continent. Reduced demand from processors and continental buyers will have limited the ability for producers to have sows culled.  

Carcase weights

Clean pig carcase weights continued to rise in January. This highlights the ongoing challenges with the backlog of market-ready pigs on farms. Weights averaged 90.6kg, which is the heaviest on record by 1.6kg.


UK pig meat production totalled 80,300 tonnes in January, 6% less than in the previous year. However, when looking on a production per working day* basis, January 2021 actually exceeds 2020. Production averaged 4,000 tonnes per working day* in January 2021, 3.0% more than in 2020.

*For this calculation, working days exclude all weekends and bank holidays. In reality, some plants may partially operate on these days, depending on demand levels.

Felicity Rusk

Analyst - Livestock

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