German pig herd continuing to decline
Provisional figures from the May pig census show that the number of pigs in Germany fell by 4% since May 2015, to 27 million head.
These were the lowest levels in the last five years. Declines were recorded across the board, with breeding sows experiencing the sharpest fall, of 6%. Within this, in-pig sow volumes were down 6%, and in-pig gilts and maiden gilts both back 5%. These figures show that the breeding herd is in decline, and may continue in that trend for the short term. This, in turn, will tighten pig meat supplies later in the year. This tightening of supplies has already been a factor in supporting the German pig price, with the current price standing at €161.53/100kg, which is €34/100kg above the lowest level recorded in March.
The impact of the breeding herd reduction was felt with a reduction in the numbers of young pigs and slaughter pigs, down 5% and 4% respectively. Numbers of piglets were also down 3%. This should result in a decline in production levels, as fewer pigs are available to come forward for slaughter.
The census also indicates that the decline in the number of pig farms continued into 2016. The total number of German farms keeping pigs fell by 5% to 24,500, with breeding farms declining more sharply, by 9% to 9,000.
Vikki Campbell, Senior Analyst
vikki.Campbell@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8741