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UK pig slaughterings pick up in February and early March

12th Mar 2021 / By Alistair Driver

UK clean pig slaughter picked up in February, with throughputs totalling totalling 905,100 head, 5.2%, 45,000 head, more than a year ago.

AHDB said this data supports recent reports that t some progress has been made in addressing the backlog. "However, while the size of the backlog has likely reduced, the reports also suggest there is still progress to be made to eradicate it completely," AHDB analyst Felicity Rusk said. 

Feb production AHDB

Slaughter of 'adult pigs', including cull sows, also picked up in February. Slaughter totalled 23,700 head, 3,800 head (18.9%) more than in the previous year. This reflects reports of improvements in exporting carcases to the continent, Ms Rusk added.

Carcase weights

Clean pig carcase weights dropped back from the previous month’s record-breaking weight of 90.6kg, falling by 0.6kg in February to average 89.9kg. This also supports reports that some of the backlog was addressed during February. Nevertheless, weights remain, on average 3.1kg above the previous year’s levels.

The combination of heavier carcase weights and higher slaughter meant that February recorded considerable year-on-year growth. UK pig meat production totalled 84,900 tonnes in February, 9.5% more (7,400 tonnes) than in the previous year.

This increase was able to compensate for the lower production level seen in January. As such, production in the first two months of the year was 1.2% higher than in the previous year, at 165,100 tonnes, Ms Rusk added. 

SPP rises again 

Estimated slaughter picked up markedly on the week ended March 6, too, rising by 11,600 head (7%) to total 187,700 head, nearly 16,000 more than a ywar ago. A rise in the number of pigs in the higher price bands, in particular, contributed to the increase in throughput overall, helping support the SPP. Slightly fewer heavy pigs came forward, although those that did fell marginally in price (-0.09p).

Indeed, the GB EU-spec SPP increased again in the week, following a modest price rise last week, rising by another 0.66p to average 139.45p/kg.

Prices for finished pigs remained nearly 24p below year earlier levels, although only 2.3p below the five-year average, while feed costs remain considerably higher.

Carcase weights averaged 89.95kg, slightly lighter than last week, but still more than 4kg heavier than a year ago.  

The GB EU-spec APP stood at 142.80p/kg for the week ending February 27, up 0.60p on the previous week. The gap between the APP and the SPP widened to 4.01p.