Slight expansion in Welsh pig herd
The number of pigs in Wales is significantly lower than that of England and Northern Ireland, but does contribute to total UK production. As at 1 June, the estimated number of pigs in Wales was almost 6% (1,300 head) higher on the year, at a total of 24,500 head, according to the results of the June Agricultural and Horticultural Survey.
Although the size of the breeding herd reduced by 8% (300 head) year on year to 3,500 head, this was outweighed by an 8% (1,600 head) increase in the number of fattening pigs, to 21,000 head.
In recent years, the number of Welsh pigs has fluctuated annually, with no apparent trend materialising. Changes in overall numbers have been largely attributed to the structure of the Welsh industry, which is made up of a small number of highly influential producers. Hence, developments reflect the actions of a minority of major producers, as opposed to a market wide development.
Nonetheless, the increase recorded in the Welsh national herd is in line with provisional trends seen in the rest of the UK this year, with Defra indicating that the total number of pigs in the UK has risen 2% as of June. Finalised figures for the UK are due to be published at the end of December.
Annie Linekar, Trainee Analyst
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