There has been a significant decline in UK pig meat production as the long-anticipated shortage in pig numbers becomes more apparent.
New figures from Defra show that UK clean pig slaughterings and pigmeat production plummeted in February 2023.
Clean pig slaugherings were down 17% on February 2022 at 762,000 head, following a small 1% year-on-year dip recorded by Defra in January.
This is the first time monthly numbers have been below 800,000 head since May 2020 when the UK was still in the first Covid lockdown.
It is also the lowest recorded monthly figure since May 2014.
And last month, pigmeat production was 21 percent lower than in February 2022 at 70,000 tonnes.
This compares with a January year-on-year reduction of 7 percent, Defra's figures show.
"The latest Defra data release supports industry commentary of tight supplies of slaughter pigs," said Freya Shuttleworth, AHDB analyst.
"Throughputs are down 11% compared to last month and down a substantial 17% year on year, sitting 13% below the 5-year average.
"When compared year on year, pig meat production has seen a larger decline than slaughter numbers, down 21%."