Breeding increase drives rise in Scottish pig numbers

Scotland’s pig herd grew by 2.7% in 2015, driven by an increase in breeding numbers, according to the country’s December 2015 survey results.

Despite totalling almost 331,000 pigs at the year-end, however, the increase still left the Scottish herd 11% below the country’s 10-year average.

In terms of breeding pigs, the Scottish survey recorded a 12.3% increase during the year, lifting breeding numbers to 37,277. In contrast to the total herd picture, this was 8% higher than the 10-year average.

NFU Scotland’s pig sector policy manager, Penny Johnston, commented that the industry was now looking for “further steady regrowth” to meet the demand for greater numbers through the country’s newly expanded Brechin plant.

“Scottish pork has struggled since the closure of the plant at Broxburn (run by Vion until 2012) and the industry has been eagerly awaiting the improvements at Brechin (run by Quality Pork Ltd),” said Ms Johnston.

“The biggest challenge to that growth is today’s market, with Scottish pig prices at an eight-year low. If we see a return to profitability and retailer support for the Scottish pork brand, however, then the much-needed industry expansion may be possible.”

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