Modest growth for organic pig herd
The number of pigs farmed organically in the UK rose by 5% on the year in 2016, according to latest figures from Defra.
At 31,500 head, the organic pig herd was the highest since 2012. Nonetheless, organic farming continues to be a niche section of the UK pig industry, with this sector making up less than 1% of the national herd.
The amount of poultry farmed organically in the UK recorded a 10% increase on the year in 2016 to 2,800,000 head. The organic cattle herd increased slightly (2%) in number year on year to 296,400 head, while the organic sheep flock remained stable in 2016.
Unlike livestock, the amount of fully organic land in the UK declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2016, to under 500,000 hectares, to the lowest acreage in at least 14 years. Land in conversion to organic did show some upturn however, mainly driven by a rise in use for temporary pasture. Furthermore, permanent and to a lesser extend temporary pasture, remain the primary uses for organic land.
Overall organic sales have been performing well lately and are in their fifth year of growth, according to a recent report published by the Soil Association. While the sector remains small, positive retail demand could potentially encourage the sector to expand. To read more about the UK organic retail market, click here.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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