UK pig herd climbs on the year in June
As at 1 June, the UK pig herd stood at just under 5 million head, 2% up year on year, according to provisional survey results from Defra.
This increase was largely driven by a 2% increase in the number of feeding pigs at 4.5 million head. UK clean pig slaughterings since June have so far averaged lower than 2016 levels, suggesting some caution may be needed surrounding this figure. Nonetheless, this might suggest some uplift in throughputs could be anticipated towards the end of the year.
For the UK female breeding herd, as at 1 June 2017 a modest increase was recorded on year earlier levels, of less than 1%, to 417,000 head. This absolute figure remains ahead of AHDB forecasts, but the direction of travel is in line with industry sentiment. There was a stronger increase of almost 3% in maiden gilts, suggesting further growth may be on the horizon.
These provisional figures only take account of trends in England and Northern Ireland. Scottish census results will be released later this month, and Welsh results will also be published later in the year. However, due to the small size of the Welsh pig herd these results are unlikely to impact the overall trend. Final UK figures are scheduled to be published on 21 December.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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