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Pig slaughterings up in July but too early to draw conclusions

22nd Aug 2016 / By Alistair Driver

UK pig clean pig slaughterings rose by 6 per cent year-on-year in July to 891,200 head, the latest figures from Defra show, once adjustments for a change in methodology are factored in.

However, the overall picture is unclear as the July increase followed two months when slaughterings were lower than the equivalent period in 2015.

This amount of volatility is unusual, according to AHDB Pork, which is urging caution when it comes to interpreting the figures.

For a little more context, overall throughputs during May, June and July were only marginally up on the same period in 2015, a more reliable indication of trends, the levy board suggests.

After all, the relatively tight supply situation this suggests matches recent industry reports and is consistent with the rising trend of pig prices throughout this period.

The Defra figures showed sow slaughterings, at 18,600 in July, were 4 per cent down on a year earlier, representing the first year-on-year fall since last May.

A sign perhaps, AHDB Pork suggests, that rising pig prices have created a more optimistic climate for producers.

Clean pig carcase weights remained 700g above last year's levels, averaging 80.6kg. Added to the rise in slaughterings, pig meat production was reported to be up 7 per cent, at 74,600 tonnes.

As with the slaughtering figures, however, this should be treated with some caution - the rise over the last three months was a much more modest 1 per cent.

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