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Could Spain Become Largest Pig Producer in EU?

26 October 2015

SPAIN - Spain could become a bigger pig producer in the EU than Germany if it continues at its current growth rate. Karsten Flemin, senior analyst at the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, said during the Herning Conference said that there has been a lot of investment in the sector in Spain and the country’s increase in production has been finding outlets on the Asian market.

“This year there has been a big increase, particularly when you see the May and June figures,” Mr Flemin said.

Those figures show a 6.2 per cent rise in the Spanish pig herd standing at 26.983 million pigs compared to Germany, whose numbers stood still with just over 28 million.

However, at the same time Germany’s sow herd numbers fell by 2.7 per cent while Spain’s rose by 2.3 per cent.

He said that in the EU only Spain and the UK were able to keep a high price because of the products going to a high priced domestic market.

The Dutch pig herd is showing a slight rise of 2.8 per cent with also a small rise in the sow herd, but he French pig herd with seeing numbers rise by 2.3 per cent is also seeing a drop in its sow herd numbers.

Poland’s pig herd has fallen by 0.7 per cent with a 6.1 per cent drop in the sow herd.

Denmark is witnessing a 1.4 per cent rise in pig production and a 0.5 per cent rise in the sow herd.

In the short term, the price forecast for the Danish pig producers continues to be poor with expectations not reaching 10DKK per kilo that the industry estimates is necessary for farmers to break even.

Last year, the forecast for the current year was for an average of 9DKK per kilo, which was revised up in March to 9.35DKK because of the weak US dollar.

However, as the dollar has strengthened, the new forecast is 9.23DKK per kilo.

Mr Flemin said that this year is expected to see a strong increase in production in the EU.

While the increase is expected to continue the rate will fall to just one per cent above the current year in 2016.

On the global market, he said that pig meat production in China is expected to fall by one per cent this year to 56.375 million tonnes and to remain stable next year.

While the EU’s production is forecast to rise by two per cent this year and also remain stable in 2016, the US is expected to have an eight per cent increase this year and two per cent next year, Brazil and Canada two per cent each year and Russia a five per cent rise this year and six per cent next year.

Mr Flemin said that Russia is moving towards self-sufficiency in pig meat production but the huge increase are largely because of state support for the sector.

Pig meat production in the EU is expected to remain stable through 2016 and while production in China is predicted to increase there is also expected to be weaker demand next year.

The US, Canada and Brazil are expected to lead the way creating increased competition on global export markets.

For the EU, Mr Flemin said that private storage could help the markets if it is introduced and used at eh right time – when the market price falls to unsustainable levels.

He said much will depend on negotiations with Russia to reopen the market and while the country is heading towards self-sufficiency, there is always going to be a lucrative market for offal, by-products, fat and lard to the Russian sausage manufacturing sector.

He added that a potential market being investigated by the Danish industry is for more processed products to China.

Chris Harris

Chris Harris



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