Danish Breeding Herd Holds Steady (May 2010)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in May 2010 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 14 May 2010
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The Danish breeding herd has shown no significant change from last year, according to the latest figures from Danish Statistics reported by the Whole Hog.

The Whole Hog says that Danish farmers appear to have weathered the financial crisis and are now in a position to take advantage of the rise in prices and the upward phase of the Global Pig Price Cycle.

However, while farmers have been taking advantage of the export market, with large numbers of weaners being exported particularly to Germany, the Danish slaughter and processing sector has been losing ground on the European and world export markets.

The Whole Hog says that the traditional loyalty of the farmers to the processing co-operatives, Danish Crown and Tican, has been tested and the processors have had to react to the trade of the independent farmers and agents across the Danish border.

They have now been forced to chase livestock as it disappears across the border.

The Whole Hog says that the pig price cycle is set to hit a new peak and the price cycle model is showing a sharp upward movement.

Hog Prices and Volatile Exchange Rates

The Whole Hog says that the London Financial Times has noticed that something is happening to hog prices.

It reports that "the price of lean hogs has fattened up substantially from last year's scrawny levels."

The Whole Hog says that demand has only recently started to recover and pig prices are likely to continue to rise unless there is a demand shock to counter the movement.

Across the EU, pig prices have fallen across the board.

Even the UK, which has seen record prices over the last year, has felt the change in the market.

In the Euro-zone, the average pig price is €132.77 per 100kg, a drop of more than seven per cent. The UK has seen a drop of 3.2 per cent and Poland 24.8 per cent.

Herd Contraction Continues in Canada

The Canadian pig breeding herd and total pig numbers have fallen again.

Figures from Statistics Canada for April show a fall on 5.8 per cent in the breeding herd compared to the same time last year, and the same source shows an all-time low for hog numbers at 11.635 million head.

Meanwhile, Canadian exports up to the end of February show a 4.1 increase on 2009 figures.

The Whole Hog says that while some markets – to Australia, China and South Korea – took a hit, sales to the US were stable and the grew to Japan, Russia and Hong Kong.

US exports have failed to find consistency in their improvement, with pig meat exports down by nearly four per cent in the year to date, according to the Whole Hog.

It adds that the US export figures varied considerably from country to country – up in Mexico, but down in Japan.

Australian Trade Figures Give Little Comfort

The Whole Hog says that the growth of pig meat imports into Australia is relentless, while exports are continuing to fall.

In February, there was a drop in exports of 9.1 per cent while imports rose by 9.7 per cent.

Total pig meat imports into Japan fell by 7.9 per cent in January, according to the Whole Hog, with the US – while still the main source of pig meat – seeing a fall in trade and Canada improving its position.

The South Korean market is showing growth of 4.9 per cent year-on-year despite a slip in February, where imports dropped by nine per cent. Chile has seen the main growth to this market – 65 per cent in a year – all be it from a low base.

May 2010

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