EU production up in January
In January the number of pigs slaughtered in the EU saw a year on year increase, despite there being one fewer working day in the month than in 2014.
In January, 22.0 million pigs were slaughtered in the EU, according to data from Eurostat. This was around 2% up on the level seen in January 2014, despite that month having an extra working day, leaving the underlying trend of slaughterings per working day up 6%. However, this was down 1% from the previous month when there were the same number of working days but throughputs were inflated by the Christmas trade in some Member States. Marginally higher carcase weights led to total pig meat production in January 2015 being up 2% on the year at 2.0 million tonnes. Final data for the whole of 2014 shows an increase in slaughtering of 1% year on year, reaching 248 million head, which resulted in a 1% increase in production for the year at 22.1 million tonnes.
In contrast to the recent trend, Danish pig slaughterings in January recorded a large increase of 11%. Increases were also seen in leading producers Germany, up 2%, and Spain, up 4% as a result of the increase in the size of its herd in 2014. Polish slaughterings were also up as it imports more weaners from Denmark for finishing. French slaughterings continued to drop, being down 6% following a fall in the size of the French pig herd in 2014. UK slaughterings were up by 1%, with Irish throughputs increasing by 2%.
Early figures from some Member States for February show a further year-on-year rise in slaughterings during the month. Given that pig prices rose during the month, this suggests some improvement in demand. However, several of the leading producers have not yet provided data.