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EU: Sow prices fall sharply

The decline follows a relatively stable summer

10 November 2021, at 3:00pm

Amid abundant supply and low clean pig prices, sow prices in the EU's main pig-producing Member States have fallen considerably since the end of August.

AHDB reported the following prices for key Member States for the end of October:

  • Denmark: €0.63/kg
  • France: €0.72/kg
  • Germany: €0.78/kg
  • Netherlands: €0.80/kg

According to census data, breeding herd expansion is down in both Germany and The Netherlands. Pig populations in Germany, for instance, were down 5.5% as of May 2021 over the previous year

Census data is available from 12 countries across Europe, covering about 90% of the continent's pig herd. Numbers are across the 12 countries are down by 0.5%. Breeding sow numbers are down by 1.3%.

AHDB analysts attribute the decline to changing welfare and environmental regulations. A decline in breeding herds could keep downward pressure one future culling is elevated due to producers leaving the industry.

Sow prices are also under pressure in Britain. However, prices have been more stable in the past month.

While the number of sows available is not particularly high, poor profits could lead to a higher number.

AHDB estimates for GB sow slaughter to the week ended 23 October suggest the increase compared to last year is less than 5%. This suggests that if producers are exiting, this is being achieved by not replacing sows when they are culled rather than culling them early.