April 20, 2024


UK pork supplies tighten further in Q1 2024



The UK pork industry has seen lower slaughter numbers leading to decreased production volumes, while swine prices have held steady in the first three months of 2024, UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board reported.


According to the latest figures from Defra, UK pork production totalled 227,800 tonnes in the first quarter of 2024, marking a 2.5% decline compared to the same period last year. This is the lowest volume recorded for Q1 since 2017.


Despite an uplift in carcase weights by 1.6kg year on year, averaging at 90.5kg in Q1 2024, reduced numbers of swine available for slaughter have contributed to the production decline.


Total slaughter, including clean swine and cull sows and boars, stood at 2.48 million head for the period, the lowest Q1 kill recorded since 2011. Clean swine slaughter totalled 2.43 million head, experiencing a year-on-year loss of almost 116,000 swine, while cull sows and boars totalled 55,500 head, showing an increase of just over 4,000 head compared to Q1 2023.


Continued wet weather has negatively impacted farm productivity, potentially limiting swine supplies later in the year. This weather pattern has also led to reduced plantings of arable crops, raising concerns about feed ingredient availability and cost for the latter part of the year. Additionally, soaring straw prices, now GBP 40/t (US$49.77) higher than last year, due to a poor harvest in 2023 and increased demand, are adding further challenges.


Despite improved farm margins, these factors indicate a sense of hesitancy among producers and processors, likely leading to a cautious approach and a focus on recovery rather than significant investment, following the challenges of the previous years.


-      UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

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