Pork Crisis "On a Bigger Scale"

by 5m Editor
6 May 2008, at 7:54am

EU - The landscape of the European pig industry crisis changed dramatically last week when Denmark announced a big slide in pig numbers between April 2007 and April 2008, most of which has taken place in the last four months.

With Canada half way through its programme to cull ten percent of sows, and United States producers facing irresistible pressure to reduce production, a global pigmeat shortage is in prospect and early claims in Britain that the pig price here would reach £2 a kilo are looking realistic.

The Danish figures, which show a drop of over 10pc in the national herd, have taken everyone by surprise.

Reports by industry leaders in other European countries that their national herds will not be dropping significantly this year will now be viewed with skepticism.

Following publication of the Danish census results, BPEX and NPA chairman Stewart Houston has written to the Big Four retailers warning of an availability problem across Europe that will be "on a bigger scale than we have ever seen before".

All the retailers responded to his letter almost immediately which suggests they accept his point that the supply situation is going to become serious, and there will not be enough pigs in Europe, or further afield, to make up for a drop in production in Britain. A series of meetings with retailers will now take place.

Danish pig census
(000 head) April 2007 April 2008 % change
In-pig sows 672 586 -12.8
In-pig gilts 218 212 -2.8
Sows in pig 2,702 2,424 -10.3
Maiden gilts 254 242 -4.7
Pigs under 50kg 5,849 5,028 -14
Pigs over 50kg 3,584 3,415 -4.7
Total pigs 13,599 12,186 -10.4

5m Editor