Northern Ireland herd size boosted in 2014
December’s census by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland has reported a 9% increase in the pig herd size in 2014, compared with 2013.
The total number of pigs on 1 December 2014 was reported as 497,100. This increase is proportional to that reported in the June census, suggesting little structural change in the herd over the last six months of 2014.
While the breeding herd was only up 1% to 40,800 head, the number of pigs for slaughter has increased by 10%. Not only has productivity increased (and is likely to continue to, as more in-pig females were recorded) but also the number of pigs imported for finishing from the neighbouring Republic of Ireland has risen. Recent favourable feed costs will have benefitted those producers importing feed for finishing pigs. However, this growing input to UK pig meat production may have been contributing, in part, to the downward pressure on UK finished pig prices.