Estimates published by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) suggest that the breeding sow herd in the UK has fallen by around 15% when compared to December 2020.

In June 2022, the number of sows on farms in the UK is thought to be around 350,000.

A backlog of pigs on-farm due to issues at processing level has meant that clean pig slaughtering in the first half of 2022 is up 1%, but the lower sow herd will impact numbers in the second half of the year.

AHDB estimates clean pig slaughterings for July to December 2022 will be down 15% on the same period in 2021.

Less supply would normally lead to price inflation, although with other factors at play, including a cost of living crisis for consumers, it is difficult to predict when producers might again be making positive margins.

AHDB expects there will be some recovery in sow numbers, rising to 375,000 by June 2024, but with the caveat that the timing of this is hard to judge.

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