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UK/EU Pig Statistics - June 2005

by 5m Editor
4 July 2005, 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 the five months to May 2005 slaughtering of clean pigs were 1% higher than for the same period in 2004. 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.

However, the annual rate of decline has slowed right down this year and in fact July 2004 was the first month (other than in one FMD-distorted month) that there has not been a decline 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.

Table 2: Sows and boars slaughtered in the UK (Th. head)


In the five months to May 2005 sow and boar slaughterings were 6% lower than the same period 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.

Disease Outbreaks.

The number of slaughterings for pigmeat production at UK abattoirs during August to December 2000 was significantly affected by the outbreak of swine fever in parts of England. 258,000 pigs were slaughtered as a result of the disease and associated welfare disposal schemes.

Slaughterings were then further affected by the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak over the period February to September 2001. 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 2002, all the main pig producing member states (except Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom) have shown increases in 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 increased by 1%, only Spain, France, Italy, Belgium and United Kingdom showed no increase.

Total pig slaughterings in the EU

2. Carcase weights

Carcase weights of both clean pigs and sows and boars were higher in almost every month of 2001 compared with the same months in the previous two years. In 2001 there were delays in livestock being sent to slaughter due to the movement restrictions and exports bans imposed as a result of the FMD outbreak, which could have lead to an increase in slaughter weight. However carcase weights in 2002 also, on average, remained higher than in 2000, supporting that there has been a more permanent shift in processors specifications towards higher carcase weights.

In comparison with 2002 the average clean pig carcase weight in 2003 was 2% higher, and the sows and boars average carcase weight was 3% higher. At 74.7 kilogramme, the average clean pig carcase weight for 2004 has again risen by 1 per cent when compared to 2003, an increase was seen in every month up to October 2004, however the sows and boars decreased by 2 per cent to 158.1 kilogramme in 2004. For the first five months of 2005 overall clean pig carcase weights have increased by 1% whilst the overall the sows and boars weight have again decreased.

UK clean pig carcase weights


UK sow and boar carcase weights

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 the first five months of 2005 pigmeat production is 1% higher than the same period in 2004, with pork production showing a 2% increase.

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 The period January – May 2005 is showing little change compared with the same period in 2004, whilst 49% of bacon and ham production is from cured from home-killed pigs .

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 21% in 2004 compared to 2003, with a specific increase in the autumn months of the year. For the first three months of 2005, imports are running 6% higher than the same period in 2004 and exports are 25% higher.

In 2004 imports were virtually unchanged on 2003 levels, with exports decreasing by 4%. For the 3 months to March 2005, imports are down 15%, as are exports by 28%.

In 2003 total domestic usage of pork was 9% higher than in 2002 with higher imports (+33%) and fewer exports (- 22%) offsetting the 8% fall in production. However some of the recorded increase in pork imports went into curing as bacon. In 2004 the total pork available for domestic use was 1% lower when compared with 2003.

4. Pig Prices and Value of Pigs and Pigmeat Production

Pigmeat reference prices

The reference prices shown here run to the week ending 5thJune 2005. In the latest week the UK reference price was €12.90 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 graph below 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 February 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

Link to main report

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

Source: Defra - June 2005