EU pork production at lowest level in almost a decade - AHDB

Germany, Poland, Spain, Denmark, and Belgium all record declines
calendar icon 21 March 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

The last 12 months has been challenging for European pork producers the last 12 months. AHDB analyst Freya Shuttleworth cited several driving factors, including soaring input costs, the growing number of ASF outbreaks, and new greening requirements. This has led to pig meat production for the region falling to the lowest annual volume since 2014 in 2022, to total 22.1million tonnes, a year on year decline of 5.6%.

According to Shuttleworth, all key producing nations saw significant declines, but most notable was Germany. Although Germany has been recording production declines since 2017, the annual decline has only been in the region of 2-3%, however in 2022 the annual decline stood at almost 10%. A loss of nearly half a million tonnes in 12 months. Poland, Spain, Denmark, and Belgium each recorded annual production declines between 110,000-180,000 tonnes in 2022.

Reducing slaughter numbers have been the driving force behind the production decline. Total pig kill for the EU27 stood at 237million head in 2022, the lowest recorded numbers since 2014 and a steep decline year on year of 12.6 million head (-5.1%). The largest declines by country were seen in Germany (-4.8million head), Poland (-1.9million head), Spain (-1.7million head) and Belgium (-1.1million head).

Looking at the EU December pig count, the trend in decline continues and answers for much of the reduction in slaughter numbers. In 2022 the EU pig herd* reduced by 5.8% as a result of the challenges faced by producers and processors. What will be of more significance to the marketplace looking forward is the reduction in the number of breeding sows and particularly the number of sows in pig at -6.2% and -5.5% respectively. The loss in these sow numbers indicates that we should see a reduction in the number of available pigs for slaughter in 2023 and supports wider industry commentary of tight supplies. This may mean we continue to see strong prices on the European pig market if domestic consumption remains steady, as forecast in the last EU short term outlook. Longer term, declines in both consumption and production are forecast, which is anticipated to bring the market into a more balanced position.

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