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German Pig Herd Continuing to Decline

07 July 2016

British Pig Executive

GERMANY - Provisional figures from the May pig census show that the number of pigs in Germany fell by 4 per cent since May 2015, to 27 million head.

These were the lowest levels in the last five years. Declines were recorded across the board, with breeding sows experiencing the sharpest fall, of 6 per cent.

Within this, in-pig sow volumes were down 6 per cent, and in-pig gilts and maiden gilts both back 5 per cent.

These figures show that the breeding herd is in decline, and may continue in that trend for the short term.

This, in turn, will tighten pig meat supplies later in the year. This tightening of supplies has already been a factor in supporting the German pig price, with the current price standing at €161.53/100kg, which is €34/100kg above the lowest level recorded in March.

The impact of the breeding herd reduction was felt with a reduction in the numbers of young pigs and slaughter pigs, down 5 per cent and 4 per cent respectively. Numbers of piglets were also down 3 per cent. This should result in a decline in production levels, as fewer pigs are available to come forward for slaughter.

The census also indicates that the decline in the number of pig farms continued into 2016. The total number of German farms keeping pigs fell by 5 per cent to 24,500, with breeding farms declining more sharply, by 9 per cent to 9,000.

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