Danish Herd Dives as High Costs Hit Sector (Feb 08)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in February 2008 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 5 February 2008
clock icon 5 minute read

The Danish pig herd has slumped as higher costs are hitting the sector according to the figures from the Danish Statistics Service reported in the Whole Hog.

The breeding herd stood at 835,000 a drop of 6.9 per cent since the last census in October.

Maiden gilt numbers rose by 2.3 per cent since the October census, but fell by half a per cent over the year.

The Whole Hog says that the Danish industry expect a number of smaller producers not to survive the next six months and that confidence the industry could ride out the storm of rising feed prices was on the wane.

However, the Whole Hog says that the larger producers are expected to build up their herds this year and production will again rise to the 2001 norm.

Danish pig breeding herd, 1999-2008

Meanwhile, in Western Europe sow slaughterings are rising in the face of high feed prices and low prices for pigs and piglets.

Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark has seen an annual rise in sow slaughtering of six per cent, according to the Whole Hog, who says there is evidence of a considerable contraction of the EU breeding herd being underway.

The Whole Hog reports that the November German census shows that there was a slight increase in pig numbers, but compared to May the figure was one per cent down.

The German breeding herd saw 550,000 sow culling from May to October - six per cent more than in 2006.

Little Cheer on Global Prices

The Whole Hog's global pig price index shows that the New Year brought no cheer or an upturn in prices.

The Whole Hog index dell by 0.4 per cent each week in January and it reports that the world is in "double dip territory" with the slump in US prices.

It warns that the signs show that global prices could be on the slide for the next four to five months.

However, for EU producers the prospect of export refunds brought some cheer, the Whole Hog says.

Traders across the EU are reporting a strong growth in exports to non-EU East European states, who are finding the years of de-stocking have produced a growing domestic demand.

A study by the Teagasc Pig Production Development Unit shows that the Irish industry has about 7,000 people employed in the sector on 1,200 farms with about 500 of these farms supplying 3.6 million pigs a year.

Canadian Exports Slump

With exports down by more than four per cent year on year, the Canadian producers are lobbying the government for support.

Hit by the lowest prices for eight years, the pig producers have called for a short-term loan and an improvement in the CAIS (AgriStability) programme.

However, the Whole Hog reports that US pig meat exports are set for a record breaking year.

In November they were 9.1 per cent higher than October at 135,242. This was 15.6 per cent up on November 2006.

Overall imports to the US were 1.9 per cent down on 2006 at 381,800 tonnes.

In October, Japanese imports were 63,491 tonnes, 16.9 per cent higher than the previous month and 12.8 per cent higher than the previous year.

The latest data from Australian Pork Ltd show producers faced a rapid increase in prices for the main feed grains in 2007, with APL chief executive describing it as the worst operating environment for Australian pig farmers in living memory.

Meanwhile, the Australian government has launched an inquiry into rearing procedures for free range pork production.

The inquiry follows a recent competition commission report condoning the practice of marketing pig meat reared outdoors as free range.

The Whole Hog also reports that New Zealanders ate a record 21.4kg per capita of pork last year.

The New Zealand Pork Board's annual report shows that the country's appetite for pork, bacon and ham is growing, the Whole Hog says.

February 2008

Whole Hog Brief, February 2008


  • Danish Herd Dives as High Costs Hit Sector
  • Sow Slaughterings Soar in Western Europe
  • Global Pig Price Index Suffers a Double Dip
  • New Year Brings Cheer to EU Pig Producers
  • Study Higlights Weaknesses in Irish Pig Production
  • Uneven Decline in Germany's Pig Breeding Herd
  • Canadian Pork Industry Calls for Government Support
  • US Pig Meat Exports Set for Record Breaking Year
  • Japanese Pork Imports Surge in OPctober
  • Grain Price Hikes Hit Australian Producers
  • Kiwis Eat More Poirk and Import More Too
  • Australia Launches Free-range Pig Enquiry
  • Company News
  • Whole Hog Price Monitor - 31 January 2008

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