Spanish Pork Production, Exports Continue to Reach Record Levels

SPAIN - Spanish swine farmers have weathered the last six months of low prices, and responded to market conditions with a larger pig herd and increased productivity following very promising results from Asia. The USDA FAS expects increasing demand should create conditions to continue with this upward trend.
calendar icon 26 October 2016
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Spanish Ministry official statistics in 2015 show that the Spanish swine sector accounts for 36 per cent of livestock production and 13 per cent of total agricultural production.

In 2015, the Spanish swine sector started with 87,552 farms, (80 per cent of the farms as intensive swine production and 20 per cent as extensive swine production) 1.1 percent higher than previous year, meaning the second year in a row increasing the number of farms, mainly the big farms, leading to a larger herd.

Historically the current number of Spanish swine production facilities are still 12 per cent lower than 2007 but higher efficiency leads to higher output. Almost half of the Spanish swine production is concentrated in the north-east.

The main regions of pig population are Catalonia, Aragon, Castile Leon and Andalusia.

Spain, with these gains in 2015, now boasts the largest swine herd in Europe. The specialty Iberian ham producers have followed the same trend we see in intensive pork production.

In 2015, the Iberian pig herd was around 2.9 million animals, following the upward trend of the last two years, due to an increasing demand of Iberian pork products.

According to Eurostat official data, in 2016 total swine beginning stocks increase by 6.8 per cent, reaching 28,367 thousand heads, continuing with the rebound two years in a row after the downward trend of the last years.

Breeding sow numbers in January 2016 started with 2,466 thousand heads, a 4.5 per cent increase, after a decrease due to the EU animal welfare regulations. This increase in total swine herd may imply a production in 2016 of around 47,355 thousand heads or 3.6 per cent higher than last year.

This data also shows an upward trend in piglet/sow in 2016 following the upward trend of the last years.

Due to the uncertainty occurring during 2016 with downward pressure on prices in the first semester, overall excess on market supplies and a deep swine crisis due to negative profits and economic margins, a rebound on pork price for the second semester of 2016 with increasing market demand can be expected.

Thus, number of total swine herd and sows may be stable in 2017 to continue supplying the growing markets in Asia.

The Spanish swine sector is very well structured and integrated resulting in one of the most efficient
swine producers within the EU28 with one of the lowest production costs.

Within the EU28 Spain best weathered the pork price crisis (very low prices in late 2015 and early 2016) and so is among the first in the EU28 to gain positive profits with the rebound of pork prices. Spanish swine industry is then a very competitive sector and efficient industry.

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