UK/EU Pig Populations - January 2010

Figures are now available for the May/June 2009 census of pig numbers in those EU countries that conduct a count at that time, and they are tabulated by Jackie Linden, editor of ThePigSite. There were 130.7 million pigs registered in the top 10 pig-producing countries in the EU-27 in the latest census, which is almost 1.5 million fewer than the same countries in November/December 2008 but there were 195,000 more breeding sows at just under 12 million.
calendar icon 5 February 2010
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The latest report from the UK's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was published at the end of January 2010, and the latest data (shown in the table below) give the results of the census of the top 10 pig-producing countries in the EU from May/June 2009. For comparison, the latest results are compared with the previous census for the same countries, which was in November/December 2008.

The May/June 2009 census showed 130.7 million pigs in total, which is 1.492 million or 1.1 per cent below the previous census, and confirms the continuing falls in the pig population in the EU-27. However, at 11.99 million, there were 196,000 (1.7 per cent) more breeding sows in those top 10 countries.

Germany maintained its top position in terms of pig population, with almost 27 million pigs (+230,000 or 0.9 per cent compared to the previous count) and there were 11,000 or 0.5 per cent more breeding sows.

Still in second position in the EU-27 rankings was Spain but it recorded fewer total pigs (-472,000 or 1.8 per cent) and sows (-18,000 or 0.7 per cent) in May/June 2009 than the earlier census.

France held on to its number three position in the EU ranking despite falls on 455,000 (-3.1 per cent) in the total pig population and 17,000 (-1.4 per cent) in breeding females.

There was a slow-down in the decline of the Polish pig industry. Although there were 246,000 fewer (-1.7 per cent) total pigs than in the previous census, there was a 7.1 per cent or 91,000 boost in the number of breeding pigs.

The Danish pigs herd increased by 241,000 or 2.0 per cent, and sow numbers were up 4.3 per cent.

The Netherlands recorded a dramatic upswing of 9.3 per cent (+95,000) in its breeding herd, as well as 3.5 per cent more pigs in total.

There were declines of 0.2 per cent in the overall Italian pig population and 1.8 per cent fewer sows, and a 2.5 per cent fall in the breeding herd in Belgium.

Increases were recorded, however, in the total number of pigs in Belgium (+3.1 per cent), as well as both the total pig counts and breeding herd in the UK (+1.9 and +3.1 per cent, respectively).

The largest percentage change was recorded for the number of all pigs in Romania – down by 22.2 per cent (1.37 million) from the previous census at the end of 2008. The breeding herd also contracted but to a lesser extent – 10,000 sows or 2.5 per cent. As recently as April 2006, there were more than 5.8 million pigs in Romania, including 551,000 sows. In the latest census, the figures stood at 4.8 million and 376,000, respectively.

Pig populations in the European Union, 2009 (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
Germany 26,948 2,307
Spain 25,818 2,524
Poland 13,996 1,370
France 14,341 1,184
Denmark 12,436 1,345
Netherlands 12,150 1,120
Italy 9,234 743
Romania 4,805 367
Belgium 6,304 529
United Kingdom 4,636 502
All other Member States
(p) = provisional
n/a = Figures not yet available
There is only one common period for pig population surveys across the EU, survey date in November/December.
Up to 2009, the main pig producing Member States to produce statistics at least twice yearly, survey date to be no more than six months apart.
From 2009, the main pig producers to produce statistics twice a year with survey dates to be May/June and November/December.

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.

February 2010
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