The latest UK farm holdings data from Defra shows there was a slight rise in the total number of pigs and pig holdings in the UK in 2012 compared with 2011, although both were still below 2005 levels.
In June 2012, there were 11,100 commercial farm holdings with pigs. However, about half of these had fewer than 10 pigs. Excluding these units, there was an average of 786 pigs per holding, a slight rise over the two previous years, although also still lower than in 2005. Over 80% of pigs were on the 1,360 holdings with more than 1,000 head.
There was also a small increase in the number of holdings with breeding pigs, which now stands at 6,100 units. However, this was due to an increase in the number of the smallest holdings – those with fewer than five sows.
Taking into account only operations with five or more breeding females, the average herd size was stable at just over 150 sows. Nearly 90% of breeding pigs were on the 900 holdings with 100 or more sows. These had an average herd size of about 440 sows.