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Increase recorded in Northern Ireland pig herd

29th Aug 2016 / By Alistair Driver

Pig numbers in Northern Ireland are rising, driven mainly by an increase in fattening pig volumes, early results from the annual June survey show.

While the results from England, Scotland and Wales will not be released for a few months, preliminary results of the 2016 Agricultural Census from Northern Ireland have been published by Defra.

They show an overall pig herd increase of 4 per cent, with sow numbers up 2 per cent to 39,100 compared with 2015 numbers.

Most pig categories are showing an upward trend but the biggest factor in the overall increase is the growth in the number of fattening pigs.

While encouraging numbers from Northern Ireland, albeit from a relatively small base, history suggests the figures should not be taken as an indicator for wider UK trends.

Increases were recorded across Northern Ireland's sectors, most notably in the laying bird sector, which saw a 20 per cent year-on-year rise, with broiler numbers up 4 per cent.

Cattle numbers rose by 3 per cent and the cereal area by 2 per cent.

Final results for Northern Ireland will be published in November 2016 by which time all returns from farmers will have been processed.