Pig prices have eased again after recording their first increase since the end of January.

Having risen by 0.3p in the week to 22 March, they fell slightly last week to an EU-spec deadweight average of 162.84p/kg.

Weaner prices also fell, losing £1.49 of the £1.51 increase made the previous week, to reach a 30kg average of £55.28 a head. Average 7kg values lost 64p to £40.21 a head.

In contrast, the stronger German sow market boosted domestic sow values, with the liveweight auction average rising by £2.70 in the week to 1 April, to £64.78 a head.

Clean pig slaughterings totalled 781,550 head in February – 1% below the same month last year, according to a report by BPEX.

“With revisions to the previous month’s figures, this means that throughputs have declined year-on-year for four consecutive months. This reflects the drop in the size of the UK breeding herd during 2012 and early 2013, when feed prices were particularly high, hitting producer margins,” the report said.

Despite lower throughputs, a 2% rise in carcass weights meant that UK pigmeat production increased by 1% in February to 66,200t.