Meat & Livestock News

UK Pig Meat Production: Q1 2024 Analysis

Overview of Current Trends

The UK pork industry experienced some stability in the first three months of 2024, despite lower slaughter numbers and flat pig prices.

Production and Slaughter Figures

According to the latest figures from Defra, UK pig meat production totalled 227,800 tonnes in Q1 2024. This marks a 2.5% decrease from the same period last year, making it the lowest Q1 volume since 2017.

Key Statistics:

– Carcase weights increased by 1.6kg, averaging 90.5kg.

– Total slaughter reached 2.48 million head, the lowest since 2011.

Breakdown of Slaughter Numbers:

– Clean pig slaughter was 2.43 million head.

– Cull sows and boars totalled 55,500 head.

Despite heavier carcases, the reduction in available pigs has led to this overall decline in production.

Weather Impact and Feed Costs

Continuous wet weather is affecting farm productivity, potentially reducing pig supplies later this year. This weather has also delayed planting of crops, impacting feed availability and costs for later in 2024.

Straw Prices Surge

Straw prices have risen significantly, now £40/t higher than last year. A poor straw harvest in 2023, due to a wet summer, has increased demand. This, coupled with extended housing of cattle, has inflated straw prices further.

Industry Outlook

Despite better farm margins, uncertainty prevails among producers and processors. This cautious approach is likely due to recent challenges, limiting significant investment in the sector.

Reassessment Planned

We will update our Agri-market outlook in the summer to reflect these new developments.