Farm Ireland

Thursday 26 April 2018

Just 47 farms now account for 45pc of the total pig population in Ireland

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Just 47 pig farms now account for 45pc of total pig production in country, according to latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.

Based on the 2016 pig census returns, the average active pig herd in Ireland in October 2016 held 872 pigs. This compares with an average herd size of 776 pigs in 2015.

The differences in the sizes of herds are significant. Almost 1,450 of respondents (some 57% of the 2,529 respondents) recorded keeping 20 or fewer pigs, while only 47 of all active herds (2.5%) kept in excess of 10,000 pigs.

These 47 herds, however, account for over 45% of the total pig population. There was a small increase in the number of herds of >10,000 on 2015 (from 43 to 47 herds).

A total of 97% of all pigs were kept in 262 herds of 1,000 and over. There were only 40 herds which kept between 500 and 1000 pigs- accounting for approx. 1.7% of the pig population (28,129 pigs, 40 herds).

Some 1,737 pigs, accounting for just 0.1% of the population, were recorded in 1,231 active herds keeping a maximum of 5 pigs. Such herds represented 67% of total active herd numbers, the figures show.

The pig population in 4 counties exceeded 100,000. Cavan overtook Cork in 2016 as the most pig-populous county, recording 296,349 pigs, representing approx. 18.5% of the total population.

Cork, with the second highest pig numbers, recorded 17.5% of the total. Tipperary, in 3rd place, recorded 11.1% , followed by Waterford with 6.3% of the total.

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As in 2015, Cork recorded the largest number of herds, accounting for 17.3% of the total number of active herds, with Tipperary and Wexford recording the next highest levels at 6.9% and 6.8% respectively.

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