Pig & Poultry Production

Pig production ranks third in importance behind beef and dairy in terms of economic value at the farm gate in Ireland. In 2016 there were 1.6 million pigs in Ireland. Almost one third of these were located in the Border region (Central Statistics Office, 2018). 

Pig farming has moved from being a common feature of thousands of farmyards to a highly specialised intensive operation. 

A January 2011 Teagasc survey found that the vast majority of pigmeat produced in Ireland comes from just 290 commercial sow herds. They had a total of 150,700 sows, or an average of 520 per farm. Furthermore, over 70% of commercial sows are in herds with more than 500 sows. In 2019, Irish exports of pig meat were valued at approximately €543 million (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, 2020).


An interesting trend in recent years has been the increased number of urban dwellers that are keeping pigs in their back garden. However, for disease control purposes, only persons registered with the Department of Agriculture and issued with a valid pig herd number are allowed to own or trade in pigs. Details are available from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website.

Poultry production

Poultry production is also an important industry in Ireland, particularly in the north-east. Chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys are valued for meat production, while hens and ducks are kept for egg production.


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