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The last three years have not seen a big fluctuation in pig numbers. They remain at 2.3 million head in 2010-11. However, the last decade has seen a steady drop in pig numbers.
Historically, the states with largest pig numbers have been Victoria and New South Wales. More recently however, these states have been overtaken by Queensland with 639,000 pigs, and 28% of the national herd.
Up until the 1960s, the Australian pig industry was a sideline enterprise to dairy or grain farming. When wheat quotas were introduced in the late 1960s and early 1970s in response to grain surpluses, farmers elected to market grain through pigs. This, in parallel with advances in disease control, saw a peak in pig numbers of 3.3 million recorded in 1973.
For more information regarding the Australian pig industry and its history please visit The Structure and Dynamics of the Pig Meat Industry (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) and for more information regarding pig meat production please refer to Livestock products, Australia (cat. no. 7215.0)