A small increase in the size of Scotland’s pig herd, revealed by the publication today of the country’s June 2015 agricultural census, has been welcomed by both the Scottish Government and farming leaders as an “encouraging” sign of progress for the sector.
The census shows pig numbers in Scotland up by 1,500 (0.5%) on the year to 318,000, with rises in the last two years “demonstrating a degree of stability” after large falls in previous years.
The figures show the breeding herd increasing by 600 (2%) while the number of fattening pigs fell by 1,000 (0.4%).
Scotland’s rural affairs secretary, Richard Lochhead (pictured above) said he was pleased to see signs that the Scottish Government’s multi-million pound investment in the new pig processing plant in Brechin was “beginning to pay dividends”.
NFU Scotland’s policy manager, Penny Johnston, also linked the pig sector progress with the effect of the Brechin investment.
“It is encouraging to see a modest increase in the Scottish pig herd, following its own period of structural changes and loss of infrastructure,” she said, despite noting that pig numbers remain around a third lower than 10 years ago and are more than 50% down on their peak in the late 1990s.
While stating that this demonstrated there was still “room for recovery” within the sector, Ms Johnston, added: “Significant investment has taken place in the plant at Brechin which will help stimulate the industry and offers a more positive future for the Scottish pig sector.”