Fall in EU and UK Pig Numbers

The total number of pigs in the UK has fallen by 1.3 per cent and the breeding herd by 2.8 per cent according to the latest figures from the Department of Food and Rural Affairs, Defra, writes Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite.
calendar icon 25 April 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

The latest Pig Statistics from Defra show the number of gilts in pig had dropped by 12.6 per cent to 54,000 head, according to the final results of the June 2007 survey of agriculture in the UK.

Sows in pig rose slightly by 0.3 per cent to 309,000, but other sows, either being suckled or dry sows kept for further breeding, fell by 6.8 per cent to 74,000.

The total breeding herd dropped from 449,000 in December 2006 to 436,000 in December last year.

The total number of pigs fell from 4,731,000 in December 2006 to 4,671,000 in December 2007.

The Defra figures show that the breeding herd in the UK has fallen steadily in the last decade, dropping by 40 per cent since 1997.

UK Pig Breeding Herd
(June 1981 to December 2007)

The drop in pig numbers in the UK is a reflection of the steady drop in numbers of pigs across the EU.

Total pig numbers have fallen from 161,744,000 in November December 2006 to 159,476,000 in the same period last year - a one per cent drop.

Breeding sows have also fallen from 15,578,000 to 15,084,000 over the year, showing a fall of three per cent.

The largest fall has been in the pig herd in Poland which has seen a drop of six per cent in total pigs from 18,813,000 to 17,621,000 and breeding sow numbers have fallen more sharply from 1,786,000 to 1,587,000 - a fall of 11 per cent.

Austria has seen a rise of five per cent in pig numbers and Sweden and the Netherlands an increase of four per cent.

The Danish pig herd saw a significant decline, however, with numbers going down from 13,613,000 in 2006 to 13,170,000 last year - a fall of three per cent. The decline in sow numbers in the EU's most important global player was four per cent - a drop from 1,414,000 to 1,353,000.

Ireland has seen similar percentage falls in its pig herd over the last year, while Germany has seen the number of pigs stand still with decreased numbers of breeding sows.

Spain's pig numbers have fallen by two per cent, while the number of breeding sows rose by two per cent.

Across the EU Germany is has the largest pig herd, with 17 per cent of the total EU herd closely followed by Spain with 16 per cent and Poland with 11 per cent. Next comes France, Denmark and the Netherlands with nine, eight and seven per cent of the EU total and then Italy with six per cent and Belgium with four per cent. The UK has just three per cent of the total EU pig herd.

EU 27 Total Pig Populations Nov/Dec 2007

Further Reading

More information - You can view the full report by clicking here.

April 2008
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