UK pork production hits 20 year high in July

UK pork production hits 20 year high in July

Pork production in the UK was up 9% year-on-year to reach a 20-year high for July, according to the latest production statistics from Defra.

The figures show the UK produced 86,200 tonnes of pig meat in July, 7,300 tonnes more than in July last year.

A total of 963,700 clean pigs were processed by UK abattoirs in July, up 6% and slaughter of sows and boars totalled 23,200 head, up 21%.

The return of the foodservice market in July also offered some support to finished pig numbers in July, according to AHDB analyst Hannah Clark.

Clark also added that the rise in production is due mostly to a rise in clean pig slaughter, while dressed carcase weights were also slightly heavier throughout the year.

“Chinese importers are reportedly also ordering large quantities of pork, while hot weather on the continent is slowing pig growth rates and boosting demand for barbecue items.”

The pandemic has taken its toll in particular on cull sow prices, which have fallen across the EU, with sharp falls in particular seen in recent, weeks according to AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins. EU sow prices have also stabilised in recent weeks, but it is still too early to expect any significant uplift in struggling UK sow prices.

Wilkins said the impact was not surprising, considering the closure of the Tönnies pork processing plant in Germany, which is usually a major customer for cull sows.

“In Britain, reports indicate that prices have also fallen, with less trade taking place on the back of limited demand. For the four weeks to week ending 11th July, GB estimated sow slaughter was nearly 20% lower than last year, though it seems numbers have since largely recovered,” said Wilkins.

“Chinese importers are reportedly also ordering large quantities of pork, while hot weather on the continent is slowing pig growth rates and boosting demand for barbecue items.

“While these signs are optimistic, Germany is still reporting that finished pig supplies are ahead of demand levels, so it might be too much to expect a significant uplift feeding through to our sow prices soon.”

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