Danish breeding herd starting to fall
Provisional figures from the 1 January pig census show that the number of pigs in Denmark remained stable in 2015, ending the year at 12.7 million head.
This follows growing numbers recorded in 2013 and 2014. However, there was some movement in the number of breeding and young pigs. Declines were particularly prevalent for in-pig sows (-3%) and in-pig gilts (-4%), whilst maiden gilts saw a 10% increase to 221,000 head. This would infer that there is rationalisation of the breeding herd occurring and the falling pig price may be delaying the serving of some maiden gilts in an effort to tighten supplies. This streamlining of operations in the industry suggests falling optimism amongst producers.
2015 was a very challenging year Europe-wide for pig prices, and Danish producers have seen their prices fall from a high of DKK1,026 (€138) per 100kg in June 2015 to DKK909 (€122) per 100kg in January 2016 – a decrease of 11%. Danish prices have stabilised in the New Year, aided by the Private Storage Aid (PSA) scheme, during which the Danes stored 12,000 tonnes of pork.
Whilst the number of slaughter pigs in Denmark was slightly reduced (-2%), there was an increase in the number of young pigs, suggesting that there may be a small rise in Danish production in the first half of 2016 as these go through the system. Production levels are then forecast to tighten in the second half of 2016, as the effects of the rationalisation of the breeding herd start to hit. Potentially this could provide some support to prices in the second half of the year, depending on developments elsewhere in Europe.