UK pig meat production costs fell in 2019, report shows

AHDB's annual report looks at full-year costs in 17 pig producing countries
AHDB's annual report looks at full-year costs in 17 pig producing countries

The cost of pig meat production in the UK decreased by 3 percent in 2019, according to a new AHDB report looking at pig sector costs in 17 countries.

The popular annual publication – the Pig Cost of Production in Selected Countries – has been updated with full-year data from 2019.

AHDB's report shows the cost of pig meat production in the United Kingdom fell to £1.42 per kilogram.

The average cost of production in the EU was also £1.42 per kg deadweight – a 1% decrease in sterling terms compared with 2018.

AHDB’s lead analyst Carol Davis said the latest figures showed that in comparison with the previous year, EU pig prices were relatively strong in 2019.

"As overall costs of production generally fell during this period, this resulted in positive margins in virtually all countries," she added.

“Due to the continued global demand, pig prices and margins remained strong into 2020, but with falling pig prices and increasing feed costs, this will have led to negative margins in the last quarter.”

The report also shows that the average number of pigs weaned per sow per year in the EU increased by 1% in 2019, up from 28.1 in 2018 to 28.4.

Pigs weaned per sow per year in Britain’s indoor herds remained the same in 2019 at 27.4.

GB's outdoor herds bounced back from the weather effect of 2018, achieving 24.1 in 2019 – an increase of 4%.

Excluding Britain’s outdoor herds, there is a difference of 8.7 pigs weaned per sow per year between the highest- and lowest-performing EU countries.

GB's indoor herds continued to produce over 2 tonnes of carcase meat per sow in 2019 – 1% higher than in 2018 – mainly due to the increase in liveweight at slaughter.

Ms Davis added: “While producers have little control over pig prices and feed prices, they can influence physical performance traits, or key performance indicators (KPIs).

"On average, the UK continues to wean fewer piglets per sow per year and this remains a reason why we have a relatively higher cost than other countries with similar production systems.”