By FWi staff
THE backlog of cattle and pigs in the slaughter chain is being cut, although the number of hoggets awaiting slaughter continues to build.
Killing is nearly back to normal for pigs reaching 90% of pre-foot-and-mouth levels last week, while cattle numbers are reasonably steady at 70%.
Meanwhile, sheep are still being slaughtered at far lower levels – about 40% of normal – with some abattoirs still refusing to kill lambs.
MLC figures confirm the number of lambs awaiting slaughter has grown from 552,000 to 626,000 head.
While progress is being made with pigs, numbers backing up still stand at 322,000 at the end of last week.
Ray Pilgrim of EE Pilgrim and Sons says the pig slaughter industry has excelled itself to achieve this level of kill in such a short time, but expects the log jam to take some time to clear.
The number of finished cattle held on farms has eased, but like pigs, the MLC predicts that 64,000 fewer bullocks than normal have been slaughtered.