UK/EU Pig Populations - April 2009

Although the figures for the November/December 2008 census of pig numbers in EU countries are not yet complete, it is likely that the pig population will be markedly lower at the end of last year than a year previously, writes ThePigSite editor, Jackie Linden. Based on the partial figures in the latest Pig Statistics from the UK Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the total pig population is down by almost 4.9 million (3.7 per cent), and there are 6.1 per cent or 734,000 fewer breeding animals.
calendar icon 1 May 2009
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The latest report from DEFRA was published at the end of April, and the data is shown in the table below. Not all the data is yet available from the pig census, which was carried out in all EU countries in November/December 2008 but the figures show a generally declining trend compared to the previous year.

Comparing the nine countries for which complete data is available, the total pig population stood at just under 126.0 million pigs, down from 130.8 or 3.7 per cent compared to the census at the end of 2007. At that time, there were 159.7 million pigs in all 27 Member states. Germany remains in number one place based on total pig herd size at 26.7 million, closely followed by Spain with 26.3 million. With a dramatic drop of more than 19 per cent in its pig population, Poland has dropped down to fourth place, overtaken by France.

On the same basis – comparing those countries with complete data – the total breeding herd was 11.25 million at the end of 2008 compared to 11.99 million the previous year. This represents a reduction of 734,000 animals or 6.1 per cent. In all nine countries reporting so far, the breeding herd was lower than in the previous annual census. Poland reported 19.4 per cent fewer sows than the year before but Romania also recorded a significant fall of 15 per cent in sow numbers. With over 2.5 million sows, Spain can claim top spot in term of breeding herd size in the EU, followed by Germany, with almost 2.3 million animals.

The total for the breeding herd in all 27 EU countries at the end of 2007 – the last date for which the data is complete – stood at 14.95 million.

Pig populations in the European Union, 2008 (thousand head)
April May/June August November/
December (p)
Total pigs Breeding sows Total pigs Breeding sows Total pigs Breeding sows Total pigs Breeding sows
European Union 27 (b) of which n/a n/a
Germany 26,765 2,378 26,719 2,296
Spain 24,639 2,530 25,421 2,421 26,290 2,542
Poland 15,687 1,423 15,425 1,367 14,242 1,279
France 14,654 1,210 14,796 1,201
Denmark 12,186 1,296 12,352 1,303 12,195 1,289
Netherlands 12,029 1,101 11,900 1,050 11,735 1,025
Italy 9,285 747 9,252 756
Romania 4,980 377 5,554 368 6,174 376
Belgium n/a n/a n/a n/a
United Kingdom 4,655 481 4,550 488
All other Member States n/a n/a
(p) = provisional
n/a = Figures not yet available
There is only one common period for pig population surveys across the EU, i.e. November/December. However, the main pig-producing Member States must survey their pig populations at least twice each year, with no more than six months between survey dates.
The Eurostat definition of breeding sows includes sow and gilts in pig, other sows for breeding and intended gilts.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

Further Reading

- You can view information on pig meat production in the UK and the EU by clicking here.

April 2009
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