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Breeding Herd Increase Reflects Growing Confidence

by 5m Editor
27 September 2010, at 10:08am

UK - Although there were fewer pigs in total in England, according to the June census, there was a one-per-cent increase in the breeding herd, with pregnant gilts up 28 per cent.

In the provisional June 2010 census, the total number of pigs declined by almost two per cent to 3.63 million, reports BPEX. This was mainly driven by a reduction in the number of fattening pigs of two per cent year on year to just over 3.2 million.

High producer prices may have encouraged pigs forward early and this has been evident in the increase in slaughterings during the first half of the year.

Despite the overall decline, the breeding herd increased by one per cent year on year to 427,000 head. Although the number of sows in-pig declined by five per cent, this was more than offset by a 28 per cent rise in in-pig gilts and a 14 per cent rise in maiden gilts. Usually, the maiden gilts category is a good indicator of confidence in the industry and could still lead to an increase in the English herd by December. However, rising feed prices may dampen confidence in the sector.