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UK/EU Pig Statistics - January 2006

by 5m Editor
6 February 2006, at 12:00am

This article provides an overview of the latest statistics relating to pigs in the UK and Europe and includes Slaughter figures, Carcase weights, Pigmeat production, trade and supplies and UK and EU Prices and value of pigs. Extracted from the quarterly pig bulletin published by Defra.

For the purpose of this notice, the 10 newly acceded EU states are still shown as candidate countries due to the lack of available data for the main pig statistical categories. These countries will be transferred and included within the EU data when figures become available.

1. Pig slaughterings

The graph below illustrates the trends in the monthly results and the average weekly slaughter:

UK home killed clean pig slaughterings (th. head)

In 2005 slaughtering of clean pigs were 2% lower when compared to 2004. (But 2004 was a 53-week statistical year. Taking this into account, there was virtually no change).

In 2004 9.1 million clean pigs were slaughtered in the UK, just slightly higher than the total seen in 2003 after taking into account the 53 week statistical year in 2004, thus confirming the annual decline appears to have slowed right down, with July 2004 been the first month (other than in one FMD-distorted month) that there was not a decline in slaughtering since 1998. When converted to a 52-week basis, there were 8.951 million pigs slaughtered in 2004 this was again lower (-2%) than the previous year.

UK home killed sow and boar slaughterings (th. head)


Sow and boar slaughterings in 2005 were 16% lower than in 2004. In 2004 sow and boar slaughterings (at 239 thousand head) remained virtually unchanged when compared with 2003, after taking into account the 53 week statistical year. When converted to 52-statistical year, sows and adult boars were down 6 thousand head on 2003 totals. There was a significant reduction in sow cullings during the course of 2005, with 112,000 slaughtered in the first half of the year and just 90,000 in July-December. December cullings were particularly low.

Disease Outbreaks

During the period February to September 2001 slaughterings were affected by the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak over the period 149,000 pigs were slaughtered following confirmation of disease or as dangerous contacts. A further 287,000 pigs were slaughtered under the Welfare Disposal Scheme. None of these pigs are counted in the slaughterings in Tables 1 and 2 above, nor used for meat production.

EU pig slaughterings

Numbers of EU pig slaughterings are only available in total, as the statistical legislation does not require Member States to differentiate between clean and cull slaughterings.

In 2003 most producing member states (except France, the Netherlands and the UK) showed increases in slaughterings. In 2004 overall slaughterings in the EU 15 remained virtually unchanged, with Spain, France, Italy, Belgium and United Kingdom showing no increase in slaughterings. For the first nine months of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004, Spain, France, Denmark and Italy saw a decline in throughput, while all other producers, except Germany, saw virtually no change or only small increases to the numbers slaughtered.

Total pig slaughterings in the EU

2. Carcase weights

The rise in carcase weights for both clean pigs and sow and boars seen over recent years, confirmed that there was a permanent shift in processors specifications towards higher carcase weights. However this switch now appears seem to be slowing down right down.

In 2003 at 74.2 kilogramme, the average clean pig carcase weight was 2% higher than the weight seen in 2002, and in 2004 at 74.7 kilogramme the weight again increased by 1%, with a weight increase seen in every month except October and December and in 2005 the average clean pig carcase weight remains virtually unchanged at 75.1 kilogramme compared to 2004, this halt is thought to be due to housing restrictions and buyer needs.

In 2003 Sow and Boar carcase weights rose by 3% compared to the weights seen in 2002. However, 2004 saw a reduction in the weight, overall on average 3 kilogramme lighter. This decline has continued into 2005, with the exception of April, August and December, every month has seen lighter weights compared to the same month the year previous, with the average for 2005 being 2% lower than 2004.



3. Pigmeat production, trade and supplies

Pigmeat production is calculated from information on slaughterings and average carcase weights. A separate quarterly survey of bacon and ham production provides data on the amount of pigmeat that is cured. The quantity of pork produced is calculated as the difference between total pigmeat production and the quantity cured.

There are several measures of production used within this section. They are defined as follows:

  • Home killed production: Meat produced from all pigs slaughtered in the UK.
  • Home fed production: Meat produced from all pigs fattened in the UK. This measure includes the carcase meat equivalent of live (non-breeding) pig exports but excludes the carcase meat equivalent of pigs imported for immediate slaughter.

  • Home cured production: This relates only to bacon and ham production and is a measure of the quantity of bacon and ham cured in the UK wherever the origin of the pigmeat.

Around 80% of the total pigmeat produced in the UK is used for pork and 20% for bacon and ham. In 2003 UK home killed production of pigmeat fell by 10% compared with 2002 and when compared with production levels in 2000, this represents a 23% decline. In 2004, taking into account the 53-week statistical year, home killed production rose slightly by 1% per cent, with pork production at 597 thousand tonnes increasing by 2%. When converted to a 52 weekbasis, pork production at 584 thousand tonnes, showing no change on 2003 production levels.

For 2005 pigmeat production is 2% lower when compared to 2004 at 703 thousand tones, with a decrease of 2 % in pork production at 583 thousand tonnes.

Table 7 shows the quantity of bacon and ham produced in the UK and gives information on the source of the pigmeat that has been cured. (The quantity of bacon and ham produced which is shown in Table 6 differs from the quantity of pigmeat cured in Table 7 due to an estimate for wastage). Table 7 includes imported pork cured in the UK.

In 2003, 55% of home cured production was sourced from home-killed pigs, compared with 70% in 2002, 74% in 2001 and 78% in 2000. This proportion further declined to 50% in 2004 In 2005 home cured production has fallen by 3% compared to the year previous, due to an increase in imported pigmeat used for curing. Home killed pigs now account for 47% of bacon production.

Percentage of home cured bacon and ham sourced from home killed pigs

All pigmeat trade data (except imports of bone in pork from Denmark) are sourced from UK Intrastat data (EC) and Customs and Excise returns (Non-EC). The UK Intrastat data is thought to under record the level of bone in pork imported from Denmark so Danish Intrastat data on exports to the UK for the same commodity codes have been used instead. The import and export data exclude meat offals and preserved or manufactured products.


In 2004 imports were only slightly higher than 2003 levels, although a decline was apparent in the last few months of the year. Exports rose by 22% in 2004 compared to 2003, with a specific increase in the autumn months of the year.

For the first nine months of 2005, imports are running 5% higher than the same period in 2004, in particular imports from Denmark have risen markedly at 130 thousand tonnes compared to 112 thousand tonnes in the equivalent period in 2004.

In the nine months to September 2005, exports have risen by 17% to 68 thousand tonnes, compared to 58 thousand tonnes seen in 2004.


In 2004 bacon and ham imports were virtually unchanged on 2003 levels, with exports falling by 4%. For the first nine months of 2005, imports of bacon and ham were down 7% and exports declined by 24%.

The total pork available for domestic use in 2004 was 1% lower than levels in 2003, largely due to the increase in exports (+23%). For the first three quarters of 2005, the amount of pork available for domestic use is 2% higher than 2004.

(The trade figures in Table 12 differ from those shown in Tables 8 and 9. This is because the trade data in Table 12 has been converted from product weight to carcase weight equivalent – boneless weight has been converted to bone in equivalents).

In 2004 domestic usage of bacon and ham was virtually unchanged when compared to 2003. In the first three quarters of 2005, the total amount of bacon and ham available for domestic usage is 3% lower than 2004.

4. Pig Prices and Value of Pigs and Pigmeat Production

Pigmeat reference prices

The reference prices shown here run to the week ending 8th January 2006. In the latest week the UK reference price was €7.18 per 100kg above the EU average.

Note: In 2003 the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC), with the support of the British Pig Executive (BPEX), launched a new deadweight pig price reporting survey - the Deadweight Average Pig Price (DAPP). The DAPP has superseded the Adjusted Euro Spec Average (AESA), the price formally used in the graph. In March 2004 the AESA ceased to be calculated and the DAPP became the official pig price indicator.

For the purposes of this graph the AESA is shown up to the date it was last calculated (i.e. March 2004) and the DAPP is shown from May 2003, the month is was first published. The following graph compares the average finished pig price with the average compound pig feed prices (GB). (Compound feed prices are published retrospectively, three months after the end of the period concerned, to protect the commercial confidentiality of respondents. The latest published figures are for September 2005).

Price comparison

5. UK/EU Pig Populations

For information on UK and EU Pig Populations which forms Chapter 5 of this report Click Here

Further Information

To read the full report, including tables (PDF - 23 pages, 318Kb) Click here

Source: Defra - January 2006