UK/EU Pig Populations - June 2005

This article is extracted from Chapter 5. of the quarterly pig bulletin published by Defra and provides a brief overview of the latest statistics relating to pig populations in the UK and Europe.
calendar icon 4 July 2005
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There was a 5.5% fall in the pig breeding herd between December 2003 and December 2004. There was also a 0.5% fall in the number of pigs for fattening.

The following graph illustrates the UK pig breeding herd between June 1981 and December 2004. It shows clearly the sharp fall since December 1997, the herd having reduced by over a third during that period. The increase between December 2000 and June 2001 is thought to be due to sows being retained for breeding due to movement restrictions and the lack of an export market for cull sows as a result of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak. There was little change in the national sow herd in 2004, in contrast to the declines of previous years.

The June 2004 census results showed increases in the two lightest categories of slaughter pigs; this is likely to have been associated with some recovery in sow productivity. The breeding herd declined in December 2004 by 8%, this has followed a modest expansion in the breeding herd in the last few years.

UK Pig Breeding Herd
(June 1981 to December 2004)

EU pig populations

There is only one common period for pig population surveys across the EU – 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 latest results are shown in the tables below. The Eurostat definition of breeding sows includes sows and gilts in pig, other sows for breeding and intended gilts. EU Member States were showing little change in the number of breeding sows at their latest surveys.

The following chart shows the proportion of total pigs in each Member State as at November/December 2004, the latest date for which figures for all EU 15 states are available.

EU Total Pig Populations Nov/Dec 2004

Pig Populations in Candidate Countries

As part of the process of applying for membership of the EU the candidate countries had to work on bringing their systems for monitoring the agricultural industry into line with EU requirements. For some countries this involved the collection of new, or improved, statistical information. As a result of this there may have been significant changes to the methodologies used in each country over time. However, the following table shows the estimated total number of pigs in the candidate countries at December of each year from 1992 onwards.

Some of the candidate countries have not yet been able to provide figures for December 2004 (e.g. Romania) – but there were over 29 million pigs in total across the countries that have supplied figures (over half of which are in Poland), compared with 123 million pigs in the EU- 15 Member countries. In comparison with the EU-15 member countries, only Spain and Germany had larger pig populations than Poland at December 2004.

UK/EU Pig Statistics

For information on UK and EU Pig Statistics which form Chapters 1-4 of this report
Click Here

Link to main report

To read the full report, including tables (PDF - 23 pages, 318Kb) Click here
This article is taken from Chapter 5. towards the end of the PDF.

Source: Defra - June 2005
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