Danish Breeding Herd Drops Again (May 08)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in May 2008 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 7 May 2008
clock icon 6 minute read

Fall in Breeding Herd Numbers

The Danish pig breeding herd has fallen by 3.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year and by more than 12 per cent over the whole year, according to the latest figures from the Danish Statistics Service.

The Whole Hog shows that the herd numbers now stand at 806,000 only slightly higher than it was a decade ago.

The Whole Hog said that a number of smaller producers in Denmark are unlikely to survive the next six months, but the larger producers with more capital will build their herds over the coming year and the herd size is expected to grow to the 900,000-920,000 size it was in 2001.

Meanwhile, the Canadian breeding herd has also continued to fall, despite the strong demand for Canadian hogs.

The numbers of sows and bred gilts fell by 4.6 per cent from April last year according to Statistics Canada, with the herd numbers now standing at 1.47 million.

The Whole Hog reports that there were 13 million hogs on farms in Canada in April this year, down by 5.9 per cent since January.

However, the Whole Hog says that as the effects of the government's breeding swine cull programme have not yet kicked in the extent of the decline in the herd is not yet apparent.

Canadian Pig Breeding Herd 1994-2008
The fall in pig numbers continues in Poland as well, with numbers reported for 2007 down by 6.4 per cent on 2006. The Polish herd was recorded as 17.62 million, with the breeding herd falling by 11.2 per cent to 1.59 million.

The whole Hog says that the Polish meat market is dominated by the fragmentation of breeding and over capacity in the slaughtering sector.

For the first time, the Whole Hog records, the Polish meat market saw more imports than exports in 2007.

Price Leap Upwards

The Whole Hog's Global Pig Price indicator took a sharp leap upwards in April, with a rise in process in North America leading the price surge. Producer prices in the US were 36 per cent higher at the end of the month than they were at the beginning. Wile in Canada prices increased by about 20 per cent, EU prices went up by about 12 per cent.

However, the whole Hog says that it is not clear what is driving prices up, although it is not a lack of slaughter animals, but both the US and Canada are enjoying good exports.

The Eurostat figures recorded in the latest edition of the Whole Hog show EU prices to be €143.18 per 100kg in April, with the UK the only EU country where prices were below last year.

The Whole Hog says that supplies are tight across mainland Europe and some countries such as Switzerland are stockpiling pork ahead of the European Football Championships and the Olympic Games.

Strong Exports

The Canadian market has been boosted by strong exports, which rose by 4.7 per cent in the year to the end of February.

While exports to the US and Japan - traditional markets for Canada - have fallen, exports to Russia, South Korea and Taiwan have been buoyant.

However, the Whole Hog says that despite the boom in exports, the Canadian pig industry remains in a depressed state.

The US surge in pig meat exports that started the year, continued into February.

The Whole Hog says that US exports were 6.7 per cent up on the previous month and 55.6 per cent up year-on-year. While exports to Japan and Mexico were lower than the previous month, exports to China rose.

The US also saw a drop in imports with fresh chilled pork imports showing the heaviest fall.

Australian pork imports fell in February compared to a year ago, with the country bringing in 8,211 tonnes. Although this figure was up on the average monthly imports compared to February 2007 it was down by 8.1 per cent.

The main exporters to Australia are the US, Canada and Denmark, with Canada and the US increasing its share of the market, according to the Whole Hog, and Denmark losing market share.

The Whole Hog reports that imports of pig meat to Japan fell by 7.3 per cent in January compared to December, with the US taking the largest drop of 6.8 per cent.

Imports from Denmark fell by one per cent and Canada had the most significant fall with a 21.8 per cent drop.

South Korea also saw a fall in imports in February compared to December, but year-on-year imports rose by 2.7 per cent.

The US was the main supplier to South Korea, with 30 per cent of the market and although the US saw a fall in the amount it shipped in February compared to January, over the year pig meat export to South Korea rose by 8.3 per cent.

May 2008

Whole Hog Brief, May 2008


  • Danish breeding herd drops again
  • Further falls in Canadian breeding herd as producers quit
  • Spring surprise as producer prices leap
  • All change in Polish pigmeat production
  • Europe's pig prices enjoy strong first quarter
  • Canadian exports give boost to ailing producers
  • US starts 2008 with a pork export surge
  • Australian pork imports fall in February
  • Japan starts 2008 with import drop
  • Chile and US benefit from S. Korean import growth
  • Company News
  • Whole Hog Price Monitor - 30 April 2008

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