Pig meat production fell by 4% in 2008, according to the latest DEFRA figures.
The ministry has revised UK pig slaughtering statistics for the past 11 months, slashing about 47,000 head per month from the original data, based on lower slaughterings in England and Wales.
The new data indicate 8.8m clean pigs were slaughtered in the UK in 2009, 4% fewer than in 2008. Cull sow slaughterings were lowered to 207,000, 12% fewer than in 2008.
Meanwhile, cattle supplies in the Irish Republic are set to tighten, after the December survey revealed a 2% fall in the breeding herd compared to a year earlier. While the dairy herd remained stable, beef cow numbers fell by as much as 4%, said the AHDB’s EU Market Survey.
“In the Irish Republic, beef cow numbers have fallen annually since 1999 but this latest contraction in the suckler herd is the largest ever.” Relatively poor cattle prices and a lack of confidence in the industry were the main drivers and an aging herd and fewer younger animals meant supplies were likely to dwindle further, it added.
Sheep numbers fell by 7%, while pig breeding numbers increased by 5%.