German pig population smallest in 25 years

AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins reports
calendar icon 13 January 2022
clock icon 3 minute read

At 23.6 million head, the overall pig population at the start of November was down by 9% compared to the previous year, reported Bethan Wilkins, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Senior Analyst for Red Meat, citing Germany's Federal Statistics office.

Within this, the number of sows totalled 1.57 million head, a decline of 7% compared with a year earlier. Poor market conditions, influenced by the presence of African swine fever within the German wild boar herd, which limits export opportunities, will be influencing the decline, said Wilkins. She also expressed concerns around the further spread of this disease within Germany and regulatory changes.

"Pessimism about future prospects for the German pig industry can also be seen in the number of holdings keeping pigs," said Wilkins. "This was down to 18,800 in the latest survey, an 8% decline on 2020."

Looking at pigs available to come forward in the coming months, Wilkins said the number of piglets was down by 10% at 6.92 million.

"The sharper fall in piglet numbers, compared with breeding sows, perhaps suggests productivity has also weakened," she said.

The figures clearly indicate that German pig supplies are set to contract during 2022, with declines expected to be seen throughout the year, Wilkins added.

"The extent to which this tightens overall EU supplies remains to be seen; previously, Spanish expansion has mitigated the impact of German herd contraction," she concluded.

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