2009 Pig Cost of Production in Selected Countries

by 5m Editor
26 May 2011, at 12:00am

The European pig sector returned to profitability in 2009, according to James Park of the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) – Market Intelligence.

This is the ninth in a series of annual reports that examines the relative costs of pig meat production up to farmgate level in selected countries. The latest results in this report relate to 2009.

The year marked a return to profitability for the European pig sector. Reduced feed costs and generally improved producer prices resulted in an opportunity for producers to generate positive margins. The British pig industry benefited from the decline in the value of sterling, which helped to boost prices as the equivalent price of imports increased. During 2009, sterling remained historically weak against the Euro although in the second quarter of 2010, despite still being low, the value of sterling appreciated, which may lead to a reduced comparative advantage on the continent. Reflecting a positive attitude by consumers during the recession, consumption of pork and pork products increased in 2009 despite an increase in retail price. Pork is seen as good value for money, compared with other meats.

During 2009 further improvements in technical efficiency helped reduce production costs which were below the European average. The results of the BPEX programme to distribute the PCV2 vaccine, used to control PMWS have been successful. However, post-weaning mortality in Great Britain is still slightly higher than it was in 2000, before the spread of PMWS, indicating that further gains are still able to be made.

In May 2010, BPEX launched the innovative Two-Tonne Sow (2TS) campaign with the objective of lifting average sow productivity in England to 2,000 kg of pig meat per sow per year. Closing the performance gap with European competitors is crucial to ensure the longterm competitiveness of the English pig sector. The campaign focuses on six pillars of activity in breeding, finishing, buildings, health, staff training and nutrition. BPEX will provide information, advice and support to producers in addressing this challenge. For more information on the campaign and to find out how to participate in the programme either as a producer of as a member of the allied industries, click here. go to

To assist producers compare their physical performance with other pig businesses in England, BPEX has launched a new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) section on the BPEX web site which is updated quarterly based on Agrosoft data. The section provides average, top third and top 10 per cent performance for the 'super six' KPIs and more detailed KPIs for indoor and outdoor breeding herds, rearing and finishing herds. For more information visit the Market Intelligence section of the BPEX web site [click here].

Key Points of Costs of Production in 2009

Average costs of production, 2004-2009 (p/kg dw)
Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2009/08
% change
Austria 111.6 103.5 107.6 113.5 136.8 127.5 -7
Belgium 93.5 88.1 89.4 104.7 131.1 126.1 -4
Brazil n/a n/a n/a 64.2 88.4 92.2 +4
Denmark 92.7 88.8 87.8 96.4 129.1 125.8 -3
France 94.5 90.6 92.0 103.2 130.5 122.3 -6
Germany 105.6 99.1 99.4 109.3 139.2 140.9 +1
Great Britain 110.2 104.4 108.6 121.7 136.8 131.4 -4
Ireland 96.9 94.6 99.9 109.1 135.2 131.7 -3
Italy 121.8 117.0 114.2 125.7 150.5 154.2 +2
Netherlands 90.3 84.4 86.1 100.0 128.6 127.9 -1
Spain n/a n/a 96.5 107.5 132.1 132.1 0
Sweden 100.3 96.3 102.3 115.9 145.7 129.5 -11
EU 101.7 96.7 98.5 109.7 136.0 131.7 -3

The cost of pig meat production in Great Britain decreased by four per cent in 2009, to 131.4p per kg. The average cost of production in the EU was 131.7p per kg deadweight, down three per cent. Production costs in Great Britain were below that of the European average as a result of the depreciation of sterling.

The improvement in the relative cost of production in Great Britain was in part due to continued improved physical performance, but it was mainly due to the lower exchange rate.

Producer prices increased notably during 2009 which resulted in record highs since 1996.

Feed prices decreased following high quotations during 2008. As a result, this assisted the member countries in controlling costs of production.

The cash costs of production, i.e. excluding finance costs, were 115.5p per kg in 2009. This was about five pence lower than in 2008.

In 2009 as a whole, EU feed costs decreased by seven per cent compared with a year earlier in sterling terms, although the increase recorded in 2008 was considerably higher. The cost decrease (in sterling) was one per cent in Great Britain.

The overall average number of pigs weaned per sow per year in the European InterPIG countries increased from 23.98 in 2008 to 24.32 in 2009. The number of pigs weaned per sow per year in Great Britain, increased to 22.25.

Great Britain maintained a post-weaning mortality of 5.6 per cent. This was slightly worse than the EU average post-weaning mortality of 5.4 per cent.

The average number of pigs finished per sow in Great Britain increased for the sixth consecutive year in 2009. At 21.0 pigs per sow, average performance was 0.15 pigs higher than in 2008 and 2.2 pigs higher, an 11 per cent improvement, compared with 2004.

Daily liveweight gains continued to improve markedly in Great Britain during 2009. Feeding herds daily liveweight gains increased by eight per cent in 2009 to 819g per day, following an 11 per cent increase in 2008.

Great Britain produced 1.643 tonnes of pig meat per sow in 2009, an increase of two per cent from 2008. Great Britain produced relatively light pigs compared with the European average and this, together with the below-average number of pigs finished per sow, means that the amount of carcass meat produced per sow is the lowest of all the EU countries.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

May 2011