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Bethan Wilkins

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AHDB Pork Market Intelligence

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Little change in German pig numbers

Home \ Prices & Stats \ News \ 2014 \ December \ Little change in German pig numbers

Provisional figures from the November pig census show that the number of pigs in Germany was little changed from a year earlier.

There was a reversal of the growth in the breeding herd recorded earlier in the year, with sow numbers down 1% since May and slightly lower than in November 2013.

Provisional figures from the November pig census show that the number of pigs in Germany was little changed from a year earlier. The herd as a whole increased marginally to 28.2 million head. This was largely due to a 5% rise for young pigs, between weaning and 50kg, suggesting that the recent upturn in slaughterings may be sustained into early 2015. Many of these pigs would have been born at a time when optimism in the industry was higher; the breeding herd was up 1% year on year in the May census. In addition, weaner imports from Denmark and the Netherlands have been 8%, or 670,000 head, higher in the year to date.

In contrast, piglet numbers were 2% lower than a year earlier, while there was a reversal of the growth in the breeding herd recorded earlier in the year, with sow numbers down 1% since May and slightly lower than in November 2013. Gilt numbers were down even more sharply, by 3% year on year. This suggests that breeders are starting to rationalise their herds as finances have been very challenging since the summer. This is confirmed by German sow slaughterings having been up 5% year on year since pig prices began to fall in September. This indicates that there may be some tightening of supplies as 2015 progresses.

The census also indicates that the decline in the number of pig farms has continued over the last year. The total number of German farms keeping pigs fell by 4% to 26,800, while breeding farms declined by 7% to 10,100.