DENMARK - Danish Crown has extended its antibiotic free pig production trials following high demand for the pork produced.
Since New Year 2015, two pig producers on Bornholm have participated in a trial funded by Danish Crown where the objective has been to produce pigs from birth to slaughter without the use of antibiotics.
At the same time, Danish Crown’s export department has been investigating the market for pork from the two Bornholm producers. There has been considerable interest, and after a number of trial deliveries, demand is now so large that there are good reasons for extending the trial.
"In the US for example, the level of antibiotics use is generally so high that this product really stands out, unlike in Denmark where the use of antibiotics in production is already very low. All slaughtered pigs in Denmark are free of antibiotics, and we can clearly sense that the market for this meat is primarily to be found abroad," says Søren Tinggaard, Associate Vice President, Exports, Danish Crown.
In the coming weeks, Danish Crown will enter into dialogue with producers who are interested in participating in the trial. For the sake of logistics, the plan initially involves finding a number of producers in the northern half of Jutland.
"The challenge is that we are still talking about such small volumes, relatively speaking, that all the pigs need to be delivered to the same slaughterhouse. By limiting the area to northern Jutland, we can significantly reduce the extra costs, so the plan is for the pigs from the new producers in the trial to be slaughtered in Sæby," says Søren Tinggaard.
Extending the trial will make it possible to slaughter approx. 1,000 pigs a week which have not been treated with antibiotics. At the moment, about 150 pigs a week on average are slaughtered on Bornholm. This figure is expected to increase to 300 pigs a week. Nevertheless, it is still too small a number to establish whether there is a viable market for the meat.
"At the moment there is so much uncertainty associated with producing meat this way that we will continue to run it as a trial, where Danish Crown supports production, among other things by providing specific advice. Therefore, we have not yet come so far that we can start a dialogue with the retail trade on filling up the supermarket displays. There is still simply too much uncertainty surrounding the project," says Søren Tinggaard.
ThePigSite News Desk