UK pig meat production: 2023 volume lowest for 5 years

Friday, 19 January 2024

According to the latest Defra figures, the UK produced 71,900 t of pig meat in December, a substantial decline of 14,300 t compared to the same month the previous year. This concludes another challenging year for the UK pork industry. For the full year of 2023, the UK produced 927,400 t of pig meat, an 11% year on year decline and the lowest annual volume recorded since 2018.

Carcase weights have been lower throughout 2023 compared to 2022, averaging at 89.1kg. However the predominant driver in reduced pig meat production comes from a sharp fall in the number of pigs slaughtered, not weight.

Clean pig kill in December totalled 781,800 head, a loss of over 177,000 head from December 2022, despite reported efforts to pull pigs forwards ahead of Christmas. Adverse wet weather conditions caused flooding and wider disruption during the month and may have had an impact on throughputs. For the full year, clean pig kill in 2023 fell 10%  year on year to 10.06 million head, the lowest annual clean pig kill in a decade (in 2013 the UK clean pig was 10.05 million head).

Sow and boar kill has also fallen in 2023, down 15% year on year, likely due to the contraction seen in the UK pig herd throughout 2022 and 2023.

A combination graph showing UK pig slaughter in bar charts and pig meat production as a line ontop

Image of staff member Freya Shuttleworth

Freya Shuttleworth

Senior Analyst (Livestock)

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