Danish and US Breeding Herds Decline (February 2009)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in February 2009 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 5 February 2009
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Two of the leading pig meat trading nations in the world have reported declining breeding herd numbers.

The February issue of the Whole Hog shows that the total number of pigs in the Danish herd on 1 January was 12.195 million - a 7.8 per cent drop on January 2008 and a 5.8 per cent fall from October last year.

The breeding herd was down by 2.86 per cent on January 2008 at 815,000 and 3.09 per cent down on the October figure.

The Whole Hog also reports that the US census for 1 December last year shows the breeding herd down to 6.08 million - a two per cent drop on the previous year.

The total number of hogs and pigs was also down by two per cent on the previous December at 66.7 million.

The September to November pig crop was four per cent down on 2007 at 28.4 million.

Upturn in Prices

Pig prices have recovered after a Christmas and New Year lull and with the Chinese New Year boosting consumption, the Whole Hog reports good prospects for pig producers for the start of 2009.

The upturn in prices is also boosted by a fall in feed prices and the Whole Hog says that traditionally the price rises are expected to last for a few months.

However, it also questions whether the rise in prices can withstand the effects of consumer demand, confidence and spending together with the credit crunch.

Tulip Blooms in the UK

The Whole Hog reports a success story in the UK arm of Danish Crown, Tulip Ltd.

The company, with a turnover of £1 billion in 2007 and product sales of 300,000 tonnes, plays a significant role in the UK pig industry.

Pig prices in the EU are shown to be stabilising with the rate of growth slowing.

Average producer prices were €137.80 - 4.5 per cent higher than in January 2008, but 9.8 per cent lower than in December.

The highest producer prices were in Germany - at €140.50 - 3.5 per cent higher than January last year.

However, the Whole Hog reports that despite a six per cent fall in the German breeding herd, Germany became the leasing exporter of pig meat within the EU last year, overtaking Denmark.

A total of 821,000 tonnes of pig meat was exported to other EU countries in the first half of last year, with exports to Poland showing a 205 per cent rise.

Canadian and US Exports Up

Canadian pork exports are continuing to rise, according to the latest November statistics collected by the Whole Hog, showing a 10.3 increase over the year.

The figure of 277,365 tonnes owes a lot to a sharp rise in trade with Hong Kong, Taiwan and Russia.

US exports of pork cuts and variety meats in November last year was 20.8 per cent up on the previous year. However, the figure of 163,243 was 11.2 per cent below the previous month.

US pork imports in November fell by 1.7 per cent on October reaching 30,176 tonnes, the Whole Hog reports.

Australian exports fell by 7.1 per cent according to the latest ABS figures for September recorded by the Whole Hog, at 3,668 tonnes, compared to the same period in 2007.

The sales trend shows a similar seven per cent fall from 47,383 tonnes to September in 2007 to 44,075 tonnes in 2008.

Japanese Imports Increase - Korea's Fall

Japan imported 76,040 tonnes in October last year nearly 15 per cent up on the previous month and nearly 20 per cent higher than the same month in 2007.

The Whole Hog reports that the main source in this rise in imports was from Canada and the US.

However, South Korea's imports of pig meat in November last year were down by 10.2 per cent compared to the previous month. The figure of 20,196 tonnes was 31.8 per cent lower than the same time in the previous year.

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