EU production ahead of 2013 up to November
Fewer pigs were slaughtered in November 2014 than a year earlier due to one fewer working days in the month but the underlying trend is still up.
In November last year, 20.4 million pigs were slaughtered in the EU, according to data from Eurostat. This was 10% down on the previous month, when there were three more working days. Throughputs were also back on November 2013 due to one less working day in 2014, although the underlying trend was still upwards. Throughputs fell by over 1% but, as carcase weights were higher, helped by lower feed costs, the production fall was smaller. In January to November, EU slaughterings were 226 million head, up marginally compared with a year earlier, while production was virtually unchanged. This small increase in supply, coupled with lower demand, both within the EU and on the Russian market, has undoubtedly had an impact on the finished pig market.
Year on year declines in slaughterings in November were especially pronounced in two of the largest pig producing countries, with Denmark down 8% and Germany showing a reduction of 5%. Danish pig slaughterhouses continue to suffer from the relentless growth in weaner exports. In France, slaughterings were down by 3%. Italy was also apparently down sharply but methodological changes make comparisons difficult. In contrast, slaughterings were up 6% in Spain in response to an increasing herd and as much as 10% in the Netherlands as live exports have been falling. Poland is another of the major pig producers and slaughterings were unchanged year on year. Slaughterings in the UK were also well up, by 5%, and even more so in Ireland with an increase of 9% helped by productivity increases.
Early figures for December show a notable year-on-year increase in slaughterings, partly due to an extra working day this year. This suggests that final figures for the year as a whole will show an increase of around 1% in the number of pigs slaughtered and a similar rise in pig meat production.