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AHDB Pig Market Weekly

16 March 2012

AHDB UK Market Survey - 16 March 2012AHDB UK Market Survey - 16 March 2012

The Scottish Government reported that livestock numbers in Scotland were lower year on year.


The pig herd in England declined almost one per cent, as a result of the decline in the number of fattening pigs. There was however a continued stabilisation in the breeding herd with numbers totalling 415,000 head for the third year in a row. This was driven by an 11 per cent increase in the number of gilts intended for first time breeding as the number of animals actually in pig was two per cent lower on the year.

The small number of pigs in Wales fell by four per cent to 25,600 head. The survey reported 3,200 breeding pigs which is four per cent fewer than in December 2010.

Scottish livestock numbers fall

The Scottish Government reported that livestock numbers in Scotland were lower year on year. The decline in cattle numbers was broadly in line with the UK trend; however the fall in pig numbers in Scotland was considerably higher than in other regions. Scotland was the only region of the UK to record a decline in sheep numbers as high culling rates in 2011 eroded breeding numbers.

Pig numbers in Scotland declined 10 per cent to 368,000 head. This was driven by a 14 per cent decline in the female breeding herd which is the biggest indicator yet that some producers may have left the industry in the face increased input costs and negative margins. The number of fattening pigs was 10 per cent lower at 329,000 head.

Pig market trends


The increase in the DAPP, which began in the previous week, accelerated in week ended 10 March. The DAPP increased to 140.5p per kg, up by almost a penny on the week. This came as increasing pig prices in the EU made UK pig meat more competitive. In line with the seasonal trend, there was a small fall in the average carcase weight of pigs in the DAPP sample to 79.4 kg. The average probe measurement was unchanged on the week at 10.9mm. At the current level the DAPP is more than five pence higher than in the corresponding week last year.

Signs of improvement in finished pig prices have begun to influence the weaner market. The average price for 30kg weaners increased to £45.57 per head for week ending 17 March, a rise of nearly one pound compared with two weeks earlier. This is the first significant price movement since the New Year. The current price is nearly five pounds per head higher than a year earlier and is at its highest level since July 2011.

Tight supplies in the EU have also led to increases in GB cull sow prices in recent weeks. The average price in week ended 10 March was 119.04p per kg, its highest level for nearly three years.


According to Kantar Worldpanel in the 12 weeks to 19 February 2012, expenditure on fresh and frozen pork increased by six per cent but the amount purchased fell by three per cent. Reduced promotional activity resulted in a 10 per cent increase in the average price paid by consumers. Reduced purchases were mainly driven by a significant decline in sales of leg roasting joints, down 31 per cent year on year. Fewer retail promotions have acted to drive this decline. More belly and loin roasting joints were purchased, up 18 and three per cent respectively.

Pork sales were poor in the week between Christmas and New Year and this has driven the decline in the latest 12-week figures. Since then, the picture is more positive, with purchases up nearly two per cent in the seven week period since the turn of the year, compared with the corresponding period in 2011. A similar pattern was recorded for some pig meat products, with the amounts purchased in the four weeks ending 19 February significantly above year earlier levels. Almost ten per cent more bacon was purchased, sausage sales increased seven per cent and sliced cooked meats by four per cent.

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