June 4, 2007


UK registers decline in Q1 pig production



Figures from the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs show finished pig output for the first four months of this year has been in decline.


The April slaughter average has dropped to 174,000 pigs a week compared with 179,000 on the same period last year.


Carcass weights have also fallen from 76.6 kilograms (kg) to 74.3 kilograms over the same period.


These figures represent an output equivalent to 19.3 pigs sold per sow per year and is the lowest of the ten leading EU pig production countries, according to the June 2006 Breeding Herd Census of 468,000 sows.


Danish producers are achieving 24.29/pigs sold/sow/year followed by the Netherlands at 23.36, France at 22.45 and Ireland at 21.9.


UK average carcass weights are also the lowest when compared with their EU counterparts with Austria, Belgium and Germany which all above 90kg. 


All other EU producer countries, except Ireland, are hitting average carcass weights above 80kg.


Based on the December 2006 UK Census of 449,000 breeding sows, UK finished pig output by the end of this year is likely to slip to an average of no more than 167,000 pigs/week unless production starts to pick up.


This compares with weekly slaughter figures in the late 1990s of over 300,000 head.


Imports of pork in UK have also continued to soar while exports remain static.


UK production costs estimated by the Meat and Livestock Commission are over 104 British pounds (GBP) per kilogramme deadweight and with the exception of Parma Ham production in Italy, are the highest of all their EU competitors.


This cost of production figure does not allow for recent increases in cereal prices which industry analysts are suggesting may cost additional 7 to 10 GBP kg deadweight.


Analysts claim UK's swine statistics for June 2007 Census on National Herd may continue on a downward trend if cheaper imports continue and local production has not improved

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