Pig numbers fall again in latest census

UK - New figures from DEFRA show a worrying drop of 7.2% in the size of the female breeding pig herd.

The department’s December 2005 Survey of Agriculture showed the national breeding herd has fallen to 441,000 head, compared to 475,000 a year before.

A further reduction in the size of the national herd will also hit abattoir throughput, with many pig plants already operating at well below economic levels.

Output of 19 pigs/sow/year sold produces a weekly kill of circa 160,000 head.

This compares with 306,000/week in January 1999 and paints a bleak picture for an industry which is continuing to lose market share to foreign pigmeat imports.

But the National Pig Association is pointing to a positive finding in the survey which show in-pig gilt numbers up by 3% as a proportion of the breeding herd.

A return to better UK pig prices would also help to encourage further re-investment in stock and equipment, as spot pig prices are currently 8% ( 35 - 37/pig) below their level 12 months ago.

Source: FWi
calendar icon 14 March 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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