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Scottish pig herd shrinking
Published:  31 October, 2017

The number of Scottish pigs has declined for the first time in four years, promoting warnings the decline could hit production rates. 

Scotland’s pig herd was 326,000-strong on 1 June, according to data released recently by the Scottish Government and crunched by AHDB Pork.

This represents a slight year-on-year decline of 1%, but it is the first time the number of pigs in Scotland has fallen since 2013.

The impact could be felt further up the supply chain in abattoirs, which may experience a shortfall in slaughter volumes in the coming months. This, in turn, could hit the amount of primal meat food processors ultimately have to sell higher up the value chain to foodservice and retail customers.

A 10% drop in the number of maiden gilts has driven part of the decline across the herd. AHDB Pork suggested this fall could see Scotland’s pig breeding herd shrink in the short- to medium term.

Meanwhile, the data has shown the number of feeding pigs has decreased by 2% to 288,000 during the same period.

And while the numbers stated feeding pigs and maiden gilts were fewer this year, the breeding herd increased by 3.5% to 32,000. While this would appear to confound AHDB Pork’s forecast that a shrink in the herd could happen, this is not quite the case. If maiden gilt numbers continue to dive, the expansion of the breeding herd could be hit in the long-term.

Final UK figures explaining the risers and fallers in Scotland’s pig herd will be made public on 21 December.