According to the latest figures published by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland, total pig numbers for the European country increased by 9 percent in June when compared with June, 2013. The 525,600 head of Northern Ireland pigs in June, compared to 480,000 head during the same month in 2013, shows a direct result of more fattening pigs due to improved productivity combined with increased imports from neighboring Ireland.

DARD also reported that there was a 10 percent year-on-year increase in the ‘other pigs’ category which includes piglets, weaners, and finishers. The pig population in this category rose from 432,000 to 476,000 over the span of 12 months.

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At 43,900 head, the total female breeding herd in Northern Ireland expanded by 3 percent when compared with June 2013. The slower expansion in the breeding herd relative to the total pig numbers confirms that there has been some improvement in productivity. While the latest figures suggest a notable expansion in the Northern Ireland herd, gilts not yet in pig recorded a 1 percent decline when compared with the same period a year earlier, which could limit growth going forward, according to a report from the British Pig Executive (BPEX).