In the 12 months to June 2012, there was a small increase in both England's overall pig herd and its breeding herd of 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively, according to the English June Agricultural Census.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that in 2012 the number of pigs in England increased by 1.7 percent to almost 3.7 million. The female pig breeding herd saw a small decrease of 0.8 percent to 351,000 in 2012, whereas fattening pigs increased by 1.8 percent to over 3.2 million.
But according to the British Pig Executive, the June census was taken prior to the rapid rise in feed prices, which began in mid-June. Since then, BPEX estimates suggest that around 10,000 more sows have been culled than during the same period in 2011. “If this trend continues, then the size of the breeding herd will be lower by the time December census, with slaughterings and production set to fall in 2013 as a result,” said a spokeswoman for the organization.