Production Efficient; Manure Results in High Costs

by 5m Editor
25 March 2011, at 9:33am

NETHERLANDS - The Dutch pig-farming sector is operating within a competitive European market, and production costs play an important role in the sector’s competitiveness.

At €1.41 per kg of slaughter weight in 2009, the Netherlands’ production costs are fairly average compared with those in rival countries within Europe. Production costs in countries like Brazil and Canada are however much lower, Wageningen UR reports.

Feed conversion in Dutch pig farming is favourable, and together with Denmark, the Netherlands has the lowest production costs per piglet and the highest sow productivity. However, Dutch pig farmers pay a relatively high price for the disposal of manure: 5 per cent of the production costs.

Production costs for pork per country
Costs in euros per kg slaughter weight

The costs resulting from the wishes of society are markedly higher in the Netherlands than in other countries, and are set to increase further between now and 2013. These costs amount to 23 euro cents per kg of slaughter weight. Other countries have markedly lower costs, while Germany and Denmark are showing signs of an increase in costs.

Environmental protection and animal welfare

Environmental costs are particularly striking in the Netherlands. A large proportion of these costs consist of manure-disposal costs (approx. 8 per cent). The costs on a closed farm with 500 sows and an average of 4,000 fattening pigs at any one time are calculated at €90,000 per annum, which is more than the family income achieved.

With regard to animal welfare, the Dutch pig-farming sector has a few measures that are more far-reaching than prescribed by EU legislation. The European requirement with regard to the surface area of the space available for fattening pigs is 0.65 m2. Germany (0.75 m2) and the Netherlands (0.8 m2) have raised this minimum. The Netherlands also appears to be in a more advanced phase than countries such as France, Spain or Eastern European countries in the implementation of group housing.

The high costs resulting from society’s demands in the Netherlands are balanced by advantages in the field of the sector’s structure, logistics and the proximity of expertise.

Additional costs resulting from policy measures in 2007 and 2013, per country
(in euro cents per kg slaughter weight)


This is the first Dutch report with the findings of InterPIG, an international network of pig-production economists, which began in 2003 as a small group from six countries. InterPIG currently has members from 14 countries, predominantly EU countries but also Brazil and Canada, for example. The Netherlands is actively represented by LEI and the Livestock and Meat Product Board (PVV). The PVV is financing the Netherlands’ activities within InterPIG in 2010 and 2011. The PVV uses the information from this study for activities supporting the competitiveness of the Dutch pig-farming sector.

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