The latest AHDB market intelligence forecasts for the UK sheep, beef and pig sectors were presented at the Outlook 2012 conference in London on the 2 May. The forecasts indicate that sheep meat production will increase in 2012 and again marginally in 2013.
With regards to pig meat production, the December 2011 census showed a fall in the size of the female pig breeding herd, offset by a substantial rise in the number of maiden gilts. This suggests that the size of the UK breeding herd is stable and it is likely to continue at a similar level over the next year. After that, prospects for the breeding herd will somewhat depend on the market response to the EU sow stall ban.
In 2011, UK clean pig slaughterings were at their highest level since 2002. The main factor in the increase was improving sow productivity, with 21.3 pigs slaughtered per sow, up from 20.2 in 2010. Factors included high levels of sow replacement and improvements in husbandry, health and genetics. With these factors still in place, further productivity gains can be expected in the coming year. High feed costs mean that pigs are being finishing at slightly lower weights than last year. However, futures markets suggest that feed prices may fall later in the year, which could lead to increased carcase weights. The net result is that UK clean pig slaughterings in 2012 are forecast to be up by around two per cent compared with 2011, with a similar rise in pig meat production. A similar increase is likely in 2013.
Friday May 4, 2012/ BPEX/ United Kingdom.