SPAIN - Pig slaughter and pork production are likely to continue to grow during 2016, with a stabilisation or reduction possible in 2017, according to a recent report by the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS).
The Spanish swine sector is the most important livestock industry in Spain, as official data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture (MAGRAMA) in 2014 shows the Spanish swine sector accounts for 37 per cent of the final livestock production and 14 per cent of final agricultural production.
In 2015 the Spanish swine sector started with 86,552 farms, (80 per cent of the farms as intensive swine production and 20 per cent as extensive swine production) thus 1.2 per cent higher than previous year and 13 per cent lower than 2007, but with higher efficiency.
Almost half of the Spanish swine census is concentrated in the north-east. The main pig production regions are Catalonia, Aragon, Castile Leon and Andalusia.
From January to October 2015, MAGRAMA data shows an increase of 5 per cent in total slaughter and 6 per cent in pork production compared with the same period the previous year.
2015 data shows an upward trend in carcass weight due to an unbalanced swine market that delayed swine slaughters. Warmer temperatures in 2015 led to higher efficiencies in production and rising carcass weights.
According to the industry, the sow herd increased by 4.6 per cent and 2.3 per cent in 2014 and 2015 respectively, a change in the trend of previous years due to a rebound in production after the investments made by swine producers as adaptation to the EU animal welfare legislation.
Growth in production may also have resulted from internationalisation procedures that the Spanish swine industry and Government have followed, to keep up with rising international demand for Spanish pork products.
Spain is a net exporter of pork, with approximately 40 per cent of the Spanish pork production exported.
Eurostat estimates the Spanish pig crop for the 3 first quarters of 2016 as 3.9 per cent higher than the same period of 2015.
During 2016, the Spanish swine industry estimates that the sow herd will be reduced to stabilise or even reduce pork production by 2017.
The value of Spanish pork exports has reduced due to the overall growth in production, higher market pressure and the overall excess on the market supplies.
According to the swine industry, this situation has generated a deep Spanish pork crisis due to the decrease in pork prices, which are lower than production costs, causing great uncertainty. The continued closure of the Russian market has also had a negative impact on the European pork industry. According to the industry for 2016, exports will still be very competitive due to the low pork prices.
If 2015 has been negative relating to profits and margins for swine and pork producers, the Spanish swine sector expects the same trend and even worse for 2016.
From January 2014 to December 2015 prices to swine producers were reduced by 25 per cent while prices for final consumers only fell 1 per cent.
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ThePigSite News Desk