TheDairySite.com - news, features, articles and disease information for the dairy industry

News

More Cows in England's Livestock Census

13 March 2014

ENGLAND - The latest census of pig and cattle numbers in England in December 2013. The dairy herd has increased by 1.5 per cent, while the decline in the beef herd over the last couple of years shows signs of reversing, writes Jackie Linden.

Pig Numbers

The total number of pigs in England increased by 5.5 per cent since December 2012 to just over 3.6 million, and reverses the decline seen over the last few years.

The rise was driven by a 7.0 per cent increase in the number of fattening pigs to just under 3.2 million. This was partially offset, however, by a fall in the number of breeding pigs by 4.2 per cent to 411,000 animals in December 2013.

Table 1. Pigs on commercial agricultural holdings in England on 1 December (thousands)
 20092010201120122013% change
2013 / 2012
Total pigs 3,575 3,514 3,489 3,417 3,607 5.5
 - Breeding pigs 415 415 415 429 411 -4.2
  - Female breeding herd 346 342 337 332 326 -2.0
     - Sows in pig 241 223 281 227 226 -0.5
     - Gilts in pig 50 57 56 57 50 -13.3
     - Other sows 55 63 63 48 50 4.4
  - Other breeding pigs 69 72 78 97 86 -11.9
     - Boars being used for service 14 14 13 13 13 -3.3
     - Gilts intended for first-time breeding 55 59 65 84 73 -13.3
 - Fattening pigs (incl. barren sows) 3,160 3,100 3,074 2,988 3,195 7.0

In December 2013 compared to a year earlier, there are noteworthy double-digit reductions in two categories, namely pregnant gilts and gilts intended for first-time breeding, both of which are down by more than 13 per cent. These changes point to further and significant reductions in the English breeding herd ahead.

Cattle Numbers

According to the latest census, published by the agriculture department last week, the total number of cattle and calves in England increased by 0.3 per cent to 5.3 million between December 2012 and December 2013, continuing the slight upward trend in numbers for a second year.

England’s dairy herd increased by 1.5 per cent to 1.1 million while the beef herd continued to fall, down by 2.6 per cent to 699,000 during 2013.

Table 2. Cattle and calves on agricultural holdings in England on 1 December (thousands)
 20092010201120122013% change
2013 / 2012
Total cattle & calves 5,465 5,434 5,275 5,308 5,323 0.3
 All female cattle 3,955 3,946 3,849 3,843 3,843 0.0
  Aged 2 years or more 2,390 2,380 2,276 2,254 2,269 0.7
   Total breeding herd 1,911 1,909 1,851 1,841 1,838 -0.1
    - Beef herd 731 745 730 718 699 -2.6
    - Dairy herd 1,181 1,164 1,122 1,123 1,139 1.5
  Other female cattle 478 471 425 413 430 4.2
    - Beef 215 206 169 171 188 10.1
    - Dairy 263 265 256 242 242 0.0
 Aged 1 to 2 years 760 741 742 761 764 0.4
   - Beef 456 422 419 434 436 0.6
   - Dairy 303 318 323 328 328 0.1
Less than 1 year 805 825 830 828 810 -2.1
   - Beef 478 491 494 488 472 -3.3
   - Dairy 325 335 337 339 338 -0.4
All male cattle 1,510 1,488 1,427 1,466 1,480 1.0
 Aged 2 years or more 215 202 175 176 202 14.5
 Aged 1 to 2 years 564 550 532 544 562 3.3
 Less than 1 year 731 737 720 746 717 -3.8
Figures sourced from the Cattle Tracing System (CTS). Data include returns from all holdings with cattle so are not subject to survey

The number of beef cows aged two years or more that are not destined for the breeding herd was 10 per cent higher in December 2013 than 12 months previously, while the number of male cattle of this age was up by more than 14 per cent.

These are signs that the beef industry has taken considerable steps towards recovery from a crisis in 2010-11, when beef prices to producers were very low.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock



Our Sponsors

Partners


Seasonal Picks

British Field Crops 2nd edition