As of 1 June 2017, the total pig herd in Northern Ireland increased by 8% on the previous year, to 646.6 thousand head, according to provisional June census results from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Every pig category recorded growth, although it was an increase of 8% (43.3 thousand head) in the number of pigs for slaughter that contributed most to the overall rise.
The total female breeding herd increased by 4% on the year, to 48.3 thousand head as at 1 July. Of this, in-pig sows were up 3% (1,200 head), while in-pig gilts recorded an increase of 11% (600 head). Likewise, the number of maiden gilts increased by 5% (300 head) on the year. This would all suggest a certain level of confidence in the sector, perhaps in light of recent strong farmgate prices. Furthermore, based on the results of the latest census, it is likely that the gradual increase in the size of the NI pig herd will continue.
Results from the English survey are due to be published mid-September.