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Danish Breeding Herd Continues to Contract

12 May 2016, at 12:00am

DENMARK - Provisional figures from the 1 April pig census showed that the number of pigs in Denmark fell slightly in Q1 2016 versus the same period a year earlier.

The total number of pigs was 12.4 million head, a decrease of 1 per cent. This is the first decrease in the total herd size over this period since 2011. There was a downwards trend in the breeding herd (-3 per cent), with the number of in-pig sows and in-pig gilts falling 4 per cent and 3 per cent year on year, respectively.

This movement further illustrates the rationalisation of the Danish herd, with the potential to tighten supplies and support the price going forwards.

Coupled with this, the 7 per cent increase in gilts intended for breeding might suggest that producers are delaying serving in a further attempt to tighten supplies.

The number of young pigs was slightly increased (+2 per cent), possibly as a result of a slight reduction in weaner exports in early 2016. Therefore, we may expect production to increase slightly in the short term, while they work through the system.

However, the number of piglets was significantly down (-5 per cent), so longer term it may be expected that production will fall back as supplies reduce.

Throughout the first quarter of 2016, the Danish pig price has remained largely stable at a little over DKK9/kg (€1.22), but fell to a low of DKK8.70/kg (€1.17) in March. Since then, it has rallied back to DKK9.21/kg (€1.24) and any further tightening of supplies can only help to support prices moving forwards.

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