Teagasc Census Shows Drop in Number of Pig Units

IRELAND - The number of commercial pig units in Ireland has fallen by 8% during the past two years, according to the Teagasc pig census.
calendar icon 2 April 2003
clock icon 3 minute read
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The bi-annual census, which is based on a detailed survey by Teagasc pig advisers, shows a total of 510 commercial pig units in the country in January 2003. These units contain just over 160,000 sows with the capacity to produce 3.43 million pigs per year.

The Teagasc census shows that the average herd size has increased from 355 sows in 2001 to 383 sows at present. The decline in the number of units is almost exclusively confined to those with less than 300 sows. The number of producers in this size category declined by almost 20% during the past two years.

Outlining the census results, Pat Tuite, Chief Pig Adviser with Teagasc, said just 33 units now control one third of the national pig breeding herd. Each of these units has a minimum of 1,000 sows.

"A total of 104 units, each with a minimum of 500 sows, are responsible for 61% of total sow numbers. In contrast, there are only 53 units with less than 100 sows, accounting for just 2.5% of the total sow population," he said.

Mr Tuite said 86% of all sows are now located in integrated breeding and finishing units. Four counties – Cork, Cavan, Tipperary and Longford – account for over 50% all sows and finishing pigs. Cork, with 95 pig units, is the biggest producer, followed by Cavan with 67 units and Tipperary with 53.

The Teagasc census also shows a drop of 3.5% in the national sow herd during the past two years.

"The deeply depressed prices of 1998 and 1999 did not cause an immediate contraction in sow numbers. But the continuing poor returns, with the exception of 2001, have begun to take their toll. This has been most obvious since mid-2002," said Pat Tuite.

Further details can be found in the Teagasc Pig Census

Source: Teagasc - 1st April 2003

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