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Mixed Trends in EU's Pig Herds

24 September 2015, at 12:00am

EU - The EU pig breeding herd declined slightly in the year to June 2015, according to provisional figures from Eurostat.

Based on results from all the major producing countries, there were 1 per cent fewer sows than a year earlier.

However, trends varied between Member States. Belgium and Poland both recorded 6 per cent falls in their breeding herds, while Germany was among other countries with fewer sows.

However, several other sow herds increased, including the Spanish one, the EU’s largest, which grew by 2 per cent , the fastest rise recorded.

There is little suggestion of any expansion of the EU breeding herd in the short-term, given that both in-pig and maiden gilt numbers were down, by 3 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

However, these relatively small falls don’t indicate a sharp fall in the breeding herd either.

The overall decline in the breeding herd suggests that growth in pig slaughterings should slow in the second half of this year and into next but no dramatic tightening of supplies can be expected.

The likely slowdown in production is backed up by the figures for the rest of the pig herd. Total pig numbers were up nearly 2 per cent overall but piglet numbers (under 20kg) were only 1 per cent higher.

Both are lower than the 4 per cent rise in pig slaughterings in the first half of the year. Growth was driven by a 6 per cent rise in the Spanish herd, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of the overall increase.

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