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Stackyard News Aug 06

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    Encouraging Signs From Pig Census

The latest Defra census is showing encouraging signs the British pig industry is turning the corner says British Pig Executive (BPEX) Chairman Stewart Houston.

The June 2006 figures show a one per cent increase in the pig breeding herd, returning it to just above the June 2005 level. This is the first upturn for four years and follows six years of overall decline.

The total number of pigs in the UK has also risen to just under five million, a 1.8 per cent rise in the last year.

Stewart said: "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 Defra comparisons are June to June, but if you compare the latest with those for last December, it shows the ground lost at the end of last year has been regained.

"These are provisional figures and could be amended later in the autumn but what we have seen so far is very encouraging."

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