March 21, 2017


Downtrend in UK pig slaughterings continues through February



UK clean pig slaughterings in February declined 12% to 769,000 head compared with the same month last year, latest figures from the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) showed, according to AHDB Pork.


"This continues the trend seen over the past few months of a fall in throughput year-on-year", the pork division of the UK Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board said, adding that this was partly due to an assumed contraction in the UK breeding herd last year.


AHDB Pork said that once the figures are adjusted to account for the extra working day in February 2016, overall slaughterings would still be down by 9%.


Sow slaughterings in February recorded a decrease of 18% to just under 18,000 head year-on-year. Similar to clean pig slaughterings, sow slaughterings have been on a downtrend since the past several months, according to Defra data.


Carcase weights in February were marginally higher (400 grammes) on the year at 83.9kg/head. Due to the reduction in throughput and only a slight increase in carcase weights, pig-meat production in February fell by 9% on the year at 67,000 tonnes.


Pork exports in January


Meanwhile, UK fresh/frozen pork exports in January declined less than 1% to 16,800 tonnes compared with the same month last year, AHDB Pork also reported.


Export value, however, rose 20% to £21.5 million (US$26.8 million) due to improved pig prices relative to 2016.


Chinese volumes continued to show year-on-year growth, with shipments up 32%. All other major destinations saw overall declines in volume, with German shipments 11% lower than January 2016 levels.


There was overall growth on the year for shipments of offal, bacon and processed pork products in January, though the total volume of these products exported is much smaller than that of pork.


Pork imports


Imports of fresh/frozen pork continued to show strong year-on-year growth in January, with volumes growing 39% to 39,200 tonnes.


Bacon, processed products and offal imports also showed year-on-year growth in January.


AHDB Pork said tight UK supplies likely boosted imports despite the devaluation of sterling decreasing the competitiveness of these products. Even in euro terms, the import prices of both pork and bacon were still up on a year earlier.
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