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UK/EU Pig Statistics - June 2006

by 5m Editor
3 July 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:


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, March slaughterings rose by 5% with April slaughterings 6% lower than the same months a year previous but when comparing this data it is worth noting that Easter fell in April this year compared to March in 2005. For the first five months of 2006 overall clean pig slaughterings are down 2% 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 December survey. For the first five months of 2006 overall sow and boar slaughterings have seen a 17% decline when compared to the same period a year previous.

EU 15 pig slaughterings

Numbers of EU 15 pig slaughterings are only available in total, as the statistical legislation does not require Member States to differentiate between clean and cull slaughterings.

Since 2003 annual pig slaughterings for the EU-15 have remained virtually unchanged. In 2005 compared to the same period in 2004, all producers, except Germany, saw declines or virtually no change in the number of pigs slaughtered. For 2006 very little data are available, but so far for the first two months Belgium, Denmark and United Kingdom have seen a decline in slaughterings while Spain, France and Italy have seen increases.

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 kilogramme 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. Monthly average weights so far in 2006, except for January when the weight was 2% lower, have seen only a modest increase or virtually no change year on year.

In 2004 sow and boar average carcase weights were 3 kilogramme 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 kilograme lower than 2004. Again weights have been lower in every month to May 2006 compared to 2005, on average 3% 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.

Around 80% of the total pigmeat produced in the UK is used for pork and 20% 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 the first five months of 2006 pigmeat production fell by 3% compared to the year previous with pork production 4% lower than the same period a year earlier.

In recent years the amount of home cured production which is sourced from home killed pigs has fallen significantly, in 2004 50% of home cured production was sourced from home-killed pigs, with this proportion reducing once again to 48% in 2005 and 2006. This compares to 70% in 2002, 74% in 2001 and 78% in 2000.


All pigmeat trade data (except imports of bone in pork from Denmark) are sourced from UK Intrastat data (EC) and Revenue and Customs 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 2005, imports were around 10% higher than the year previous, in particular imports from Denmark rose by almost a quarter at 179 thousand tonnes compared to 147 thousand tonnes in 2004. In the first quarter of 2006 imports are 6% higher than the same period in 2005, with imports from Denmark 17% higher.

Exports in 2005 rose by 8% to 91 thousand tonnes, compared to 84 thousand tonnes seen in 2004. Exports to Germany fell by around 12% compared with 2004, whilst exports to the Netherlands rose markedly. In the first 3 months of 2006, exports are 12% higher than the same period in 2005, exports to Germany are around a quarter lower whilst exports to Netherlands are once again significantly higher.


In total bacon and ham imports fell by 7% in 2005 compared to 2004 and for the first quarter of 2006 imports are down 4% compared to 2005. Exports of bacon and ham fell by almost a quarter in 2005 compared to a year previous, and so far in the first quarter of 2006 exports are 5% 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.

4. Pig Prices and Value of Pigs and Pigmeat Production


The reference prices shown here run to the week ending 11th June 2006. In the latest week the UK reference price was €3.90 per 100kg below 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 February 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

Source: Defra - June 2006