Pressures on pork production constrict growth in England

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Despite high pig prices through 2022, the pork sector has faced a long period of losses. This had led to a contraction in the pig herd, as reported in the latest Defra livestock survey. As of June 2022, overall pig numbers were down by 3%, a drop of 129,000 head.

The overall breeding herd contracted by 18% across all categories of breeding pigs, but was mostly due to a loss of 52,000 breeding sows (down 17% year on year). Sows in pig fell 14% to 189,000 head, while the number of gilts in pigs was down by 11,000 (28%). There was also a considerable reduction in the number of gilts intended for first time breeding, which contracted by 26% to just under 59,000 head. As highlighted in the latest outlook, the smaller size of the breeding herd is expected to lead to a drop in pig meat production in the second half of 2022.

Fattening pigs saw the least change, with numbers down by 1.4%, or 54,000 head on 2021. 

graph showing the number of pigs on agricultural holdings according to Defra

Image of staff member Charlotte Forkes-Rees

Charlotte Forkes-Rees

Retail and Consumer Insight Analyst

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