Numbers of pigs in the United Kingdom will remain tight for most of 2014, according to a British Pig Executive (BPEX) and England Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) forecast. The agencies have projected that UK pig meat production in 2014 will increase by 2 percent to just less than 850,000 metric tons.

Factoring in the decline in the UK breeding herd in 2012 with no signs of recovery since then, pig numbers are set to remain close to last year’s levels until at least the fall of 2014, BPEX assessed.

With producer confidence still fragile, no significant expansion of the breeding herd is expected in the near future. However, with the UK pig herd having stabilized, further productivity gains should mean a modest rise in slaughterings towards the end of 2014. Nevertheless, slaughterings for the year as a whole are only expected to be 1 percent up from 2013. Carcass weights have started 2014 at a higher level than in 2013, a trend which is set to continue, enabling UK pig meat production to rise by 2 percent for the year.