August 31, 2006


UK pig numbers up slightly



British pig numbers are up for the first time in six years, according to the latest census from the UK's Department of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).


The June 2006 figures show a one percent increase in the pig breeding herd, the first upturn following six years of overall decline.


The total number of pigs in the United Kingdom has risen to just under five million -- a 1.8 percent rise in the last year.


Bred gilts and maiden gilts are showing an increase and so far this year the number of cull sows has been down, said British Pig Executive (BPEX) chairman Stewart Houston.


With recent productivity gains, the latest development bodes well for the future availability of slaughter pigs, he added.


Farmers are investing in replacement breeding stock, which indicates their confidence in the future of the industry, Houston added.


Although uncertainty remains later in the autumn, what has been achieved so far is very encouraging, Houston said.