French Pig Herd Continues to Shrink

by 5m Editor
31 August 2011, at 10:28am

FRANCE - The decade-long downward trend in the French pig herd is continuing, according to France's May 2011 pig census.

Overall pig numbers were just over two per cent lower than in May 2010. The total number of sows fell one percent. This was the smallest percentage fall since 2003.

However, numbers of maiden and in-pig gilts were down more significantly, by around five per cent, suggesting the breeding herd is unlikely to increase in the coming months.

As in the rest of Europe, high feed prices are a key factor, having risen by around 50 per cent compared with year earlier levels.

More recently, weak domestic demand led to declines in French pig prices during May and June, when prices elsewhere in Europe were generally stable, making conditions more challenging.

FRENCH CENSUS, May 2011 000 head 2010 2011 % Change Total sows 1,158 1,144 -1 In-pig sows 825 820 -1 In-pig gilts 145 137 -6 Maiden gilts 122 117 -4 Piglets <20kg 3,518 3,474 -1 Young pigs 20-50kg 3,875 3,746 -3 Slaughter pigs over 50kg 5,572 5,456 -2