English pig herd growth bucks trend

The English pig herd grew by 4% last year, taking breeding herd numbers to 438,000.

The news comes as both lamb and beef herds register ongoing falls, and will boost retailers experiencing price hikes in these markets.

The growth came in gilts, registering a 13% increase to 52,000, according to Defra figures. This offset a 0.4% fall in sow numbers to 365,000 sows.

The total pig population is 3.75m, while pigs for finishing totalled 3.3m in England, a growth of 1% on 2008.

Figures may have altered somewhat since December, however, with difficult weather conditions affecting herd numbers.

Bpex director Mick Sloyan said: “This is very encouraging for the whole industry, which has seen some turbulent times.

“It also points to growing confidence, particularly as producers are now seeing a period of comparatively stable prices coupled with continuing strong consumer demand for pork and pork products.”

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