TheMeatSite.com - TheMeatSite.com - news, features and articles for the meat processing industry

News

Fewer Breeding Pigs, More Finishers in UK

20 March 2014

UK - The UK pig breeding herd is down by two per cent from 12 months previously and there are 10 per cent fewer gilts for future breeding, according to the latest census of pig numbers in the United Kingdom in December 2013. There are five per cent more fattening pigs.

This report updates the previous one by including the figures for Scotland.

Pig Numbers

The total number of pigs in the UK increased by 4.0 per cent during 2013 to nearly 4.4 million, which goes against the fall in the UK’s pig population since 2009.

The total number of breeding pigs in the UK decreased by 2.4 per cent to 497,000 animals by December 2013.

The total number of fattening pigs in the UK increased by 4.8 per cent (or 155,000 animals) to 3.9 million pigs between December 2012 and December 2013.

Scotland has revised its survey imputation methodology, leading to minor revisions to the estimates of UK pig numbers from 2007 onwards.

Table 1. Pigs on commercial agricultural holdings in the UK on 1 December (thousands)
 20092010201120122013% change
2013 / 2012
Total pigs 4,416 4,388 4,328 4,216 4,383 +4.0
 - Breeding pigs 495 508 499 509 497 -2.4
  - Female breeding herd 417 423 409 400 398 -0.6
     - Sows in pig 291 277 265 269 273 +1.5
     - Gilts in pig 57 68 66 68 60 -11.3
     - Other sows 69 79 78 63 64 +1.7
  - Other breeding pigs 78 85 90 109 99 -8.9
     - Boars being used for service 16 16 15 15 15 -2.9
     - Gilts intended for first-time breeding 62 69 75 93 84 -9.8
 - Fattening pigs (incl. barren sows) 3,921 3,880 3,828 3,707 3,886 +4.8

In December 2013 compared to a year earlier, there are noteworthy double-digit reductions in two categories, namely pregnant gilts and gilts intended for first-time breeding, which are down by 11 and 10 per cent, respectively. These changes point to further and significant reductions in the UK breeding herd ahead.

Cattle Numbers

According to the latest revision, the total number of cattle and calves in the UK fell by 0.7 per cent to 9.7 million between December 2012 and December 2013.

The UK's dairy herd remained static at 1.8 million for another year and the beef herd continues to decrease, falling by 3.0 per cent to under 1.6 million.

Scotland has now started to use the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) as the source for cattle data in December 2013, and revised its cattle time series back to 2007.

Table 2. Cattle and calves on agricultural holdings in the UK on 1 December (thousands)
 20092010201120122013% change
2013 / 2012
Total cattle & calves 9,945 9,924 9,692 9,749 9,682 -0.7
 All female cattle 7,167 7,188 7,054 7,062 7,013 -0.7
  Aged 2 years or more 4,292 4,302 4,164 4,128 4,126 -0.1
   Total breeding herd 3,465 3,481 3,412 3,388 3,371 -0.5
    - Beef herd 1,616 1,649 1,630 1,603 1,554 -3.0
    - Dairy herd 1,849 1,832 1,783 1,786 1,817 +1.7
  Other female cattle 827 821 752 740 755 +2.1
    - Beef 408 398 335 346 353 +2.0
    - Dairy 418 423 417 394 402 +2.1
 Aged 1 to 2 years 1,391 1,364 1,352 1,394 1,396 +0.1
   - Beef 907 854 835 861 852 -1.1
   - Dairy 484 510 516 532 543 +2.1
Less than 1 year 1,485 1,521 1,538 1,540 1,491 -3.1
All male cattle 2,777 2,736 2,638 2,687 2,669 -0.7
 Aged 2 years or more 370 348 303 305 342 +12.2
 Aged 1 to 2 years 1,052 1,021 985 1,001 1,015 +1.4
 Less than 1 year 1,356 1,367 1,350 1,381 1,312 -5.0
Figures sourced from the Cattle Tracing System (CTS). Data include returns from all holdings with cattle so are not subject to survey

TheMeatSite News Desk



Our Sponsors

Partners


Seasonal Picks

Meat Cuts and Muscle Foods - 2nd Edition