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Bethan Wilkins

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AHDB Pork Market Intelligence

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Herd expansion in key member states

Home \ Prices & Stats \ News \ 2014 \ September \ Herd expansion in key member states

Provisional results of pig censuses from some key EU member states show a more positive picture than in recent years. Lower feed prices this year have meant some producers were able to expand, resulting in a 1% increase in overall pig numbers across these countries. Total sow numbers also increased on a year earlier.

Provisional results of pig censuses from some of the key EU member states generally showed a more positive picture than in recent years. Member states which have released figures so far include Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy. Lower feed prices this year have meant some producers were able to expand, resulting in a 1% year on year increase in overall pig numbers across these countries. In addition, total sow numbers increased on a year earlier, although there were slightly fewer gilts in the breeding herd. The member states which have reported so far represent just under half of the total EU pig herd and the overall situation will become clearer once figures from other major producers, such as Poland, France and Spain, are released in the coming weeks.

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The German and Danish pig herds expanded by 1% and 2% respectively; the German and Danish census results have been analysed previously. Overall pig numbers in the Netherlands were almost unchanged from last year but sow numbers increased by 1%. At the same time, total piglets rose by 2%, highlighting further productivity gains. In addition, maiden gilts numbers increased by 5% year-on-year, suggesting producer intentions to expand in the near future. In contrast, provisional figures for Italy indicate a 1% decline in total pig numbers and a 2% drop in breeding sows. A sharp reduction in gilt numbers (both in-pig and maiden gilts) suggests further declines ahead. Industry reports indicate a struggling Italian pig industry, resulting from animal health concerns and carcase utilisation challenges. Among smaller producers, the Hungarian figures show an increasing herd but pig numbers were lower in Austria and Romania.