EU pig population in decline

The total pig population dropped 3% over last year
calendar icon 28 February 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Data recently released by the European Commission show that the pig population across the bloc is in decline, reported the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. According to Duncan Wyatt, AHDB lead analyst for red meat, December survey data revealed that the total pig population was 141.6m head, a drop of 4.3m head (-3%) compared with December 2020.

Looking further ahead the number of piglets (those weighing under 20kg) on farms in December, was down by only 259,000 head, or 1%, to 41.63 million head.

Analysis from AMI, a consultancy, suggests that in Germany, processors are able to take the number of slaughter pigs available, but that the supply of pork on the market is plentiful, Wyatt continued. While pig prices have risen slightly, further rises in the short term may be difficult, although apparently in anticipation of rising prices, some animals are being held back. It may take significantly warmer temperatures and further relaxation of the coronavirus requirements to support demand.

Pig prices in the EU have been under pressure for some time, but this decline in the European herd may be evidence of some light at the end of the tunnel. Prices in Spain appear to be rising. However, the number of very young pigs has not fallen by the same degree as larger, slaughter ready pigs and so any recovery may be volatile.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

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