Welsh pig numbers increased 5% in June 2019

There was a 5% increase in the number of pigs in Wales, to 24,400 head, in June 2019, according to the June Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture.

However, the breeding herd actually declined by 2%, to 3,300 head. The increase was due to higher numbers of pigs being fed for slaughter. This could suggest some improvement productivity, that more Welsh-born pigs are being finished in Wales, or a combination of the two.

Pig numbers in Wales were at their lowest in June 2008 with just over 20,000 head recorded. Since then, pig numbers have fluctuated between 20,000 and 30,000 head.

Pig meat production has become unprofitable for many smaller producers due to market forces and as such, there is a relatively small number of large producers.

AHDB analyst Jennie Tanner said: “Over two-thirds of the pigs recorded in June 2019 were found on less than 30 farms. With this in mind, the fluctuating numbers will generally reflect variations from year to year among these few large producers.”

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