December pig census figures published by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development indicate a 1% year-on-year increase in total pig numbers in Northern Ireland, to 455,300 head.
The increase was largely a result of a 10% rise in the female breeding herd, of which sows in-pig rose by 21% while in-pig gilts fell by 5% on the year.
Reporting the figures in Pig Market Weekly, BPEX points our that a change in methodology for the June survey led to an increase in the figure for the Northern Ireland breeding pig population, and it’s possible that this may be the case again.
That said, maiden gilt numbers also increased by 31% compared with December 2012, so this could indicate some improving producer confidence – although these figures tend to be volatile.
Numbers recorded in the other pigs’ category, which includes piglets, weaners and finishers, remained almost unchanged.