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UK/EU Pig Populations - October 2009

by 5m Editor
10 November 2009, at 12:00am

The figures for the November/December 2008 census of pig numbers in EU countries are now complete and are tabulated by Jackie Linden, editor of ThePigSite. There were just over 153 million pigs registered in the EU-27 census, almost seven million fewer than the year previously, and there was a fall of 931,000 in the number of breeding sows to 13.951 million.

The latest report from the UK's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was published at the end of October 2009, and the data is shown in the table below. For the first time, data are available from the pig census scheduled to be carried out in all EU countries in November/December 2008.

The November/December 2008 census figures revealed continuing and significant falls in the pig population in the EU-27. Total pig count was down by 6.972 million (4.4 per cent) compared to a year before, while the breeding sow numbers were down by 930,000 or 6.2 per cent.

Germany maintained its top position in terms of pig population, with a fall of 394,000 in total pigs (1.5 per cent) and there were 121,000 (5.0 per cent) fewer sows.

Still in second position in the EU-27 rankings and challenging for the top slot, Spain had 228,000 (0.9 per cent) more pigs than the previous year although there were fewer sows (121,000 or 4.5 per cent).

The pig industry in Poland appears to be in near-collapse after further huge falls in pig numbers during 2008, and it has lost its third slot in the EU rankings to France, which also recorded reductions of 1.2 per cent (173,000) in total pigs and 2.7 per cent (33,000) in breeding sows.

The Polish pig population is down by 3.379 million (19.2 per cent), while sow numbers also fell by 19.4 per cent or 309,000.

Most of the other pig-producing countries in the EU recorded modest reductions in their pig herds. One exception is Romania which, like Poland, is experiencing a downward spiral in pig numbers. Total pigs were down by 391,000 (6.0 per cent) and sows by 66,000 (14.9 per cent).

The UK recorded 2.6 per cent (121,000) fewer pigs in total and 11,000 (2.2 per cent) fewer sows compared to the previous year.

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 153,067 13,951
Germany 26,687 2,368 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 6,263 541 6,208 543
United Kingdom 4,655 481 4,550 487
All other Member States 20,907 2,156
(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.


November 2009