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UK Farming Statistics


20 February 2013

UK Farming Statistics: Livestock Populations at 1 December 2012 , UK and EnglandUK Farming Statistics: Livestock Populations at 1 December 2012 , UK and England

This release shows livestock numbers on agricultural holdings in the United Kingdom and England. These results are from the December Surveys of Agriculture carried out by each of the UK’s Agriculture Departments on 1 December 2012. They also include data from various administrative sources.
UK Farming Statistics

Key Points:

Cattle

Between December 2011 and December 2012, the total number of cattle and calves in the UK increased by 0.5% to 9.7 million. Cattle numbers in England followed the UK’s trend, increasing by 0.6% to 5.3 million.

Pigs

The total number of pigs in the UK has decreased by 2.4% since December 2011 to just over 4.2 million, which is the smallest pig herd as at the 1 December since 2000.

Sheep

The total number of sheep and lambs in the UK increased by 4.4% between December 2011 and December 2012 to 22.9 million. The UK’s female breeding flock increased from 14.2 million in 2011 to just under 14.3 million in 2012. In England, the sheep flock increased by 5.2% and the female breeding flock rose by 1.7% during 2012.

Cattle

The total number of cattle and calves in the UK increased by 0.5% to just over 9.7 million between December 2011 and December 2012. This reversed the trend of declining cattle numbers since 2005 at this time of year. The UK’s dairy herd remained static at 1.8 million and the UK’s beef herd continues to shrink, falling by 0.8% to 1.6 million.

Cattle numbers in England followed the UK’s trend, increasing by 0.6% to 5.3 million in December 2012. England’s beef herd also fell during 2012 by 1.6% to 718 thousand, and England’s dairy herd also stabilised at 1.1 million as it was in December 2011.

Despite this increase in cattle numbers, cattle producers continue to have concerns over high production costs, especially of feedstuffs, against a general backdrop of the UK’s continuing economic downturn.

Figure 1: Total Cattle in the UK and England, December 2006 - 2012

Pigs

The total number of pigs in the UK decreased by 2.4% since December 2011 to just over 4.2 million, which is the smallest pig herd as at the 1st of December since 2000 (the first year for which figures are easily available). The English pig herd fell by 2.1% to 3.4 million over the same period. The total number of breeding pigs in the UK increased by 2.0% to just over 500 thousand animals in December 2012. The number of breeding pigs in England increased by 3.5% in 2012 to 429 thousand animals.

Figure 2: Total Pig Numbers in the UK and England, December 2002 – 2012

The total number of fattening pigs in the UK decreased by 115 thousand animals to 3.7 million pigs in December 2012. This decrease was largely as a result of the 2.8% decrease in the number of fattening pigs in England which account for 80% of the UK’s total. Producers faced rapidly rising costs in feedstuffs in 2012 which may have offset last year’s rise in pig prices. This may explain the decrease in pig figures.

March 2013

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