17 February 2000
Pig breeding herd declines

THE Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) has reported a 7% decline in the UK pig breeding herd in the last year.

It has just released figures showing that the slaughterings of sows in November averaged 8750 per week.

But the rate of culling in December stepped up in December to around 10,000 per week.

The first three weeks of the new year saw an average kill of 9100, which is more than 1000 above a year ago.

The MLC has estimated that the decline in the Scottish herd could be higher at 15%.

Despite the low prices, consumption has fallen.

Sales of pork chops are down by 2%, while joints for roasting are down by 1%. Sales of bacon have dipped by 3%.