AHDB Pig Market Weekly
23 April 2012
Beef and veal production in the first three months amounted to 223,000 tonnes, a decrease of over eight per cent on year earlier levels. This decline was driven by lower prime cattle slaughterings and a considerable decline in cull cow throughputs, as carcase weights were broadly similar to those in the first three months of 2011.
Prime cattle slaughterings were nine per cent lower year on year at 501,000 head, largely driven by a 20 per cent decline in young bull slaughterings. However, steer throughputs were six per cent lower on the year, while heifer throughputs were down eight per cent. At just over 141,000 head cull cow slaughterings were nine per cent lower than in the corresponding period a year ago. Last year producers were taking advantage of firm market prices and rationalising their herds in the face of high input costs.
As a result of reduced throughputs of lambs and adult sheep mutton and lamb production in the first quarter of 2012 declined two per cent on the year to 62,600 tonnes. Ewe and ram throughputs were 11 per cent lower on the year at 443,000 head with lamb throughputs down three per cent at 2.58 million head. The better seasonal conditions and increased feed availability over the winter has resulted in carcase weights increasing considerably and therefore offsetting the decline in throughputs to some extent.
Pig meat production in the January to March period totalled 206,000 tonnes, two per cent higher than during the first quarter of 2011. Clean pig throughputs were up two per cent on the year to 2.48 million head while sow slaughterings were five per cent higher than AHDB estimates for the corresponding period last year at 65,000 head. Clean pig carcase weights in the period were lower year on year, as producers finished slaughter pigs to lower weights in an attempt to offset high feed costs.
Pig market trends
The recent upward trend in finished pig prices
continued in week ended 14 April, with the
DAPP increasing by 0.86p per kg to average
145.05p per kg. Despite the Bank Holiday,
most plants operated for five days during the
week, so estimated throughputs were five per
cent higher than the previous week. Despite
supplies remaining at or above year earlier
levels, the DAPP was over four pence higher
than a year earlier. Average carcase weights
increased slightly, to 78.87kg, with the average
probe measurement slightly down at 10.5 mm.
In contrast to the DAPP, weaner prices have experienced little movement in recent weeks as rising feed costs have offset optimism about future finished pig prices. In week ended 24 April, the average price of a 30kg weaner was £45.96, just over two pounds more than in the same week a year ago. The average price of export specification sows fell by almost two pence in week ended 14 April to 122.47p per kg as demand from manufacturers was reduced by the Easter holiday.
UK clean pig slaughterings in March 2012
totalled 771,000 head, two per cent higher than
in March 2011. Throughputs were higher in all
regions of the UK, with a two per cent increase
in both England & Wales and Northern Ireland
and a marginal rise in Scotland. The latter
contrasts with recent months when Scottish
throughputs have been higher, perhaps
reflecting the reduction in the Scottish herd
recorded in the December census.
Nevertheless, the number of pigs slaughtered in
Scotland in the first quarter of 2012 was 11 per
cent higher than a year earlier. Slaughterings of
cull sows and boars during March totalled
20,800 head, almost all in England. This was
about three per cent higher than AHDB’s
estimate for March 2011.
The average clean pig carcase weight during March was slightly lower than a year earlier at 79.0kg. The average carcase weight for cull sows and boars was 149kg, slightly higher than a year earlier. The net result was that total pig meat production in March was two per cent higher than a year earlier at 64,000 tonnes.
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