What county has the highest number of pigs in Ireland?

The results of the 2019 National Pig Census have revealed the three counties with the highest numbers of pigs in the Republic of Ireland.

The census – which was conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – reveals that in 2019, the national herd consisted of 1,631 active herds containing 1,644,121 pigs.

Retaining the title since 2016, Co. Cavan again recorded the largest pig population with some 320,514 pigs, representing 19.5% of total pig numbers.

Next up, Co. Cork recorded the second-highest pig population with 285,951 pigs – or 17.4% of the national herd and in third, was Co. Tipperary with 170,623 pigs (10.4%).

However, Cork holds the title of the largest number of pig herds (259), accounting for 15.9% of the total number of active herds, while Wexford and Tipperary had the next highest numbers of pig herds with 119 (7.3%) and 117 (7.2%) respectively.

On the flip side, the counties with the smallest numbers of herds were as follows:
  • Louth – 15 pig herds;
  • Sligo – 20 pig herds;
  • Longford – 21 pig herds.

Unsurprisingly, the county with the smallest population of pigs recorded was Dublin (178 pigs).

Next up was Sligo – 3,244 pigs and Leitrim with 5,286 pigs.

The National Pig Census forms part of The Diseases of Animals Act 1966 (National Pig Identification and Tracing System) (Amendment) Order 2010 (S.I. 364 of 2010).

This requires any person who keeps any pigs to at least annually conduct a census on his/her holding, at a time determined by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Returns were received from 2,692 pig keepers, representing a response rate of 88.9%.

Herd keepers were informed that registered herds that had recorded no pigs being kept in either 2018 or 2019 would be made inactive on the department’s systems, as would herds from which no return was received in respect of Census 2019.

A breakdown of the pig population In Ireland – as of Sunday, October 13, 2019 – is as follows:
  • 141,622 breeding pigs;
  • 1,501,791 fattening pigs;
  • 708 non-production pigs.

The information presented in the report relates to data returned from the country’s 1,631 active pig herds, as provided to the department by mid-January 2020.