Danish and Canadian Pig Herds Fall (November 2008)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in November 2008 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 20 November 2008
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The latest figures from the Danish Statistics Service show that the Danish pig herd is considerably down in numbers on 2007 figures.

The Whole Hog shows that the Danish pig numbers were 12.944 million at the end of October - a rise of 4.79 per cent on the previous quarter, but still more than 1 million pigs down on the October 2007 figures.

The total breeding herd was 839,000 head 6.36 per cent down on 2007.

The Whole Hog says that Danish live exports were 96,180 tonnes between January and May, which is more than 26 per cent up on the same period in the previous year.

The Whole Hog says that there are indications that exporters are preparing for a significant down turn in values because of the global credit crunch and it adds that while producers have been able to get credit against the rising value of their land in the past, now banks are starting to refuse extended credit to farm businesses.

The Canadian pig numbers have also taken a dramatic drop according to the Whole Hog.

It reports that figures from Statistics Canada were 12.8 million head at the end of the third quarter of 2008. This is down by 1.5 per cent on the previous quarter and 10.9 per cent year on year.

The national breeding herd was 1.41 million head in October, down by 8.3 per cent compared to last year.

Global Prices Move Up

The Whole Hog's index of global prices shows pig prices still moving up with week to week changes in October of between 0.5 per cent and 0.4 per cent.

It reports that prices have been rising now for 25 weeks continually and it forecasts that the prices will continue to rise week to week as they have been boosted by tight supplies in other red meat markets.

However, it warns that weakening demand from consumers because of the present global financial crisis could knock prices for producers.

The Whole Hog also shows that EU producer prices continued to rise during October, with the average pig meat price for the last week of October reaching €157.84 per 100 kg.

The biggest rises were in the Czech Republic at 25.4 per cent but both the UK and Netherlands saw rises over 24 per cent and Germany had rises of more than 22 per cent.

Falls in Feed Prices

The record harvests, with wheat expected to reach 664 million tonnes, more than nine per cent higher than last year, is having the effect of cutting feed prices.

The Whole Hog reports that the EU cereal crop is expected to be 308 million tonnes - 20 per cent more than last year.

However, it warns that EU cereal exports could be under pressure from cheap grain from Russia and Ukraine.

North American Exports Up

Statistics Canada has reported an increase in exports of pig meat of nine per cent - 59,883 tonnes - between January and August.

The Whole Hog reports that Taiwan, Philippines and Hong Kong remain the fastest developing markets for Canadian exports. In the first eight months of the year they imported 27, 145 tonnes, 18,617 tonnes and 66,664 tonnes respectively.

However, the US, Japan and Russia are still the largest markets for Canadian pork.

While Canada has seen exports continue to rise, the US has also seen strong growth.

During August exports of pork cuts and variety meats reached 165,874 tonnes and although this was a fall of 3.9 per cent on the previous month it was 72.5 per cent up on the same time in 2007. Frozen pork cuts were up by 93.7 per cent on the previous year.

Imports on the Rise

While the US and Canada are exporting more, Australia is seeing its pork imports rise.

The Whole Hog says that the latest statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in 2008 imports by volume fell slightly for the first eight months, but in August, imports were up by 12.9 per cent compared to a year before.

The value of the Australian dollar, high grain prices with lower pig meat exports in Australia is also forcing producers to leave the industry. This year ABARE reports that 20 per cent of producers had quit the industry.

In Japan imports rose by 4.3 per cent during July, reaching 72,167 tonnes. This was 14.2 per cent higher that imports a year ago.

Japan imported 10.9 per cent more pork from the US, while Canada saw Japan take 7.5 per cent more pork in July compared to June and 3.3 per cent year on year.

While South Korea took less pork from the US in August compared to July - down by 12.9 per cent - over the year its US pig meat imports have risen by 13 per cent.

Overall South Korea's pork imports rose by 2.4 per cent in the year with Chile showing itself making gains in that market, the Whole Hog says.

November 2008

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