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UK/EU Pig Statistics - January 2007

by 5m Editor
5 February 2007, 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.

1. Pig slaughterings

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


In 2005 slaughtering of clean pigs were 2% lower when compared to 2004. (But 2004 was a 53-week statistical year, when converted to a 52-week basis, there were 8.972 million pigs slaughtered in 2004. Taking this into account, there was virtually no change). In 2006 the overall clean pig slaughterings are down 1% on the year previous.



There was a significant reduction in sow and boar slaughterings in 2005, seeing a 15% decline compared to 2004, taking into account that 2004 was a 53 week statistical year. All months in 2005 saw declines, except for April which was unchanged on the same period a year previous. December 2005 cullings were particularly low.

This trend has continued in 2006 with sow and boar slaughterings continuing to fall reflecting the reduction in breeding herd size shown in the 2005 December survey. Overall sow and boar slaughterings in 2006 have seen a 3% decline when compared to 2005.

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 2005 all producers, except Germany, saw declines or virtually no change in the number of pigs slaughtered compared to 2004. For the first nine months of 2006 France, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium and the UK saw a decline in throughput while all other producers saw small increases when compared to the same period in 2005.

2. Carcase weights

The rise in carcase weights for both clean pigs and sow and boars seen over recent years, confirmed there was a permanent shift in processors specifications towards higher carcase weights. This shift has now slowed right down for clean pigs and the trend has been reversed for sow and boars, with average weights for 2005 lower than those seen in 2002.

In 2004 at 74.7 kilogrammes the average clean pig carcase weight was 1% higher than that of 2003. For 2005 the average carcase weight rose marginally to just over 75 kilogrammes, a slower rate of increase than that seen over recent years, this halt is thought to be due to housing restrictions and buyer needs. For 2006 there has been a very small decline with the average for the year 74.9 kilogrammes compared to 75.2 kilogrammes for 2005.

In 2004 sow and boar average carcase weights were 3 kilogrammes lower than the 2003 average weight. This weight reduction continued into 2005, with the exception of April, August and December, every month saw lighter weights compared to the same month the year previous, with the average for 2005 being 2.5 kilogrammes lower than 2004. In 2006 weights have again been lower than 2005 for most months with the yearly total being 2% lower.

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.

In 2006 around 85% of the total pigmeat produced in the UK was used for pork and 15% for bacon and ham. In 2004, taking into account the 53-week statistical year, home killed pigmeat production rose by 1% per cent at 722 thousand tonnes, with pork production at 599 thousand tonnes increasing by 3%.

In 2005 pigmeat production and pork production levels are virtually unchanged compared to the year previous when 2004 is converted to a 52 week equivalent basis. In 2006 pigmeat production fell by 1% compared to the year previous, with pork production showing a slight increase compared to 2005.

In recent years the amount of home cured production which is sourced from home killed pigs has fallen significantly, in 2006 47% of home cured production was sourced from home-killed pigs showing no change from 2005. The volume of imported pigmeat cured in the UK declined in 2006, contrary to the long-term upward trend.

All pigmeat trade data (except imports of bone in pork from Denmark) are sourced from UK Intrastat data (EU) and Customs and Excise returns (Non-EU). 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 total bacon and ham imports fell by 6% in 2005 compared to 2004 and for the first nine months of 2006 imports are down 9% compared to 2005, with imports from the Netherlands falling sharply . Exports of bacon and ham fell by almost a quarter in 2005 compared to the previous year and so far in the first nine months of 2006 exports are 8% down on 2005 levels.

The total pork available for domestic use in 2005 rose by 3% compared to the year previous. While home fed production remained virtually unchanged, the increased imports contributed to the rise in overall supplies. For the first three quarters of 2006, the amount of pork available for domestic use is 1% lower compared to the previous year.

4. Pig Prices and Value of Pigs and Pigmeat Production


The reference prices shown here run to the week ending 14th January 2007. In the latest week the UK reference price was €30.25 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 this 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 2006.

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

January 2007