October 22, 2019


Scotland's breeding sow numbers rise 20% year-on-year



Scottish breeding sow numbers are nearly 20% higher than a year ago, approaching levels last seen in 2011, FarmingUK reports.


Recent developments in the sector have given Scottish swine producers much reassurance, including the approval of the Brechin slaughter plant for export to China and the takeover of the UK operations of processor Tulip.


Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) says that while challenges of red meat's association with health and environmental impacts have been well documented for the cattle and sheep sector, the swine sector has been less affected.


Stuart Ashworth, QMS Director of Economics Service explains, "Nevertheless, the change in the processing structure over the past decade, and Scotland's high pig heath standards, does mean that a considerable volume of pigs are moved to England for finishing, showing little change in the number of finishing pigs on Scottish farms."


However, he said swine prices are being supported by the global incidence of African swine fever particularly in Asia which is encouraging pork demand.


While producer prices for swine are currently over 6% higher compared to last year and back to levels seen in autumn 2017, this contrasts sharply with beef prices which are 12% lower and lamb prices at 1% lower than a year ago.