Mixed trends in EU’s pig herds
The EU pig breeding herd declined slightly in the year to June 2015, according to provisional figures from Eurostat.
Based on results from all the major producing countries, there were 1% fewer sows than a year earlier. However, trends varied between Member States. Belgium and Poland both recorded 6% falls in their breeding herds, while Germany was among other countries with fewer sows. However, several other sow herds increased, including the Spanish one, the EU’s largest, which grew by 2%, the fastest rise recorded. There is little suggestion of any expansion of the EU breeding herd in the short-term, given that both in-pig and maiden gilt numbers were down, by 3% and 2% respectively. However, these relatively small falls don’t indicate a sharp fall in the breeding herd either.
The overall decline in the breeding herd suggests that growth in pig slaughterings should slow in the second half of this year and into next but no dramatic tightening of supplies can be expected. The likely slowdown in production is backed up by the figures for the rest of the pig herd. Total pig numbers were up nearly 2% overall but piglet numbers (under 20kg) were only 1% higher. Both are lower than the 4% rise in pig slaughterings in the first half of the year. Growth was driven by a 6% rise in the Spanish herd, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of the overall increase.