Ireland’s pig herd declined 4 percent in December 2012 to 1.49 million compared to the previous year in both breeding herd and pigs for slaughter, according to the Central Statistics Office

The breeding herd is down 2 percent as Irish pig producers are struggling to implement the new EU regulations covering the sow stall ban at a time when profitability has been under pressure. Sows in pigs were notably lower by as much as 7 percent and only partly offset by the 14 percent increase in gilts.

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The decline in other pigs in December 2012 has already reduced slaughtering levels in early 2013. This seems likely to continue especially given the significant 9 percent drop in the number of piglets and the 11 percent reduction in the number of slaughter pigs weighing between 50kg and 80kg.