The latest figures for domestic bacon and ham supply point to low and declining output. Volumes emerging from the factories are at least a fifth smaller than during the period of very high pig kill rates in the late '90s. Contraction of the British breeding herd would have caused a severe output squeeze even without livestock disease. June output was more than 30% lower than four years earlier. Current weekly kill tallies are not much greater than 200,000 head. And the tonnage of imported pigmeat used as raw material, only about the same during the first six months of this year as at the peak of the production cycle, is similarly a hint of structural distortion in the industry. Capacity rationalisation in processing in addition to the diminishing livestock supply is now becoming apparent in the data. More of the same can be expected if the MLC analysts' current forecasts prove accurate. They point to further contraction of the pig breeding herd and slaughter stock numbers before a possible feeble increase in 2003, and a continuing bacon production downtrend in the meantime. {{MEAT }}

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