In July 2006 there were 1.8% more pigs than in the same period last year. In 2005 the number of pigs was 4.8 million, this year the pig herd grew to 5 million head, Defra
This is the first upturn for four years and follows six years of overall decline.
British Pig Executive (BPEX
) chairman Stewart Houston said the British pig industry is turning the corner now. “In-pig gilts and maiden gilts are showing an increase and so far this year the number of cull sows has been down. Coupled with the productivity gains we are seeing, this bodes well for the future availability of slaughter pigs. It is good to see farmers are investing in replacement breeding stock which indicates a measure of confidence in the future.”
The British pig industry has been facing very strict welfare rules from the 1990s onwards. For this reason, production prices rose and many pig producers could not compete with imported pork from the Netherlands and Denmark. The misery was increased by swine fever (2000) and FMD outbreaks (2001).