Latest data from the German Federal Statistical Office show a one per cent decline in breeding pig numbers in the year to May 2012, taking the number of sows and gilts to 2.16 million head. This is similar to falls seen in recent years, although the true decline may have been larger as figures could have been increased by a change in methodology.
The number of in-pig sows was down by four per cent but there was a 10 per cent increase in numbers of maiden gilts. However, the figure for maiden gilts in May 2011 was unusually low and the 2012 figure is still lower than in most earlier years.
This year’s figures cover a number of additional mixed farms, where the presence of pigs wasn’t previously recorded, particularly in the main pig producing states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. This main effect has been to increase the numbers of fattening pigs recorded, although it has probably also impacted on the figures for breeding animals. As a result, the figures show that the German pig herd was nearly four per cent higher than in May 2011 but the true increase was probably more modest.
July 2012/ BPEX/ United Kingdom