2018 slaughterings the highest since 2000
23rd Jan 2019 / By Alistair Driver
UK pig farmers delivered a 3% increase in pigmeat production in 2017, while slaughterings were up by 2.5% to reach the highest level seen since the the start of the century, AHDB figures show.
Production in 2018 increased to 926,700 tonnes, 24,100 tonnes higher (+3%) than in 2017, as a result of higher slaughterings for both clean pigs and sows and boars.
Total slaughterings for the year increased by 257,500 head (+2.5%) to 10.7 million head, the highest annual throughput since 2000.
UK pig meat production totalled 71,900 tonnes in December, slightly up (+1%) compared to a year earlier, while clean pig slaughterings in December were similar to the previous year overall, at 834,800 head.
However, in England and Wales throughputs were down by around 10,500 head (-2%) compared to a year earlier. This was counteracted by an increase in slaughterings in Northern Ireland, up 11,700 head (+9%) in December, although slaughterings in Scotland were down by 500 head (-2%).
Carcase weights dropped slightly in December compared to the previous month, however, weights were nonetheless above the 2017 level for the first time since August.
Sow slaughterings also picked up slightly in December, standing 2% (+400 head) higher than the previous year at 16,900 head. Sow slaughterings in the year were therefore 9% higher (+22,200 head) than in 2017 at 258,800 head.
AHDB analyst Tom Forshaw said: “However it is worth noting that sow slaughterings in 2017 were unusually low, especially at the start of the year, meaning higher slaughter would be expected due to an older breeding herd. Nonetheless, the slaughter rate in the second half of the year is perhaps slightly above usual expectations, suggesting the worsening financial situation may have led some producers to reduce their herd size.”