Polish pig numbers continue to fall
According to the latest pig census from Poland, as at 1 March, total pig numbers continued to decline.
Numbers fell by 12%, compared with the same period a year earlier, to just under 10.2 million head. This confirms the trend recorded in the December census. Breeding sows were down 16%, which infers that Polish producers are continuing to rationalise their breeding herds to tighten supplies. There are reports of producers leaving the market, exacerbated by the devaluation of the pig price, which was especially hard hit at the beginning of the year, falling to a low of €1.19/kg in January. When this is coupled with increasing cases of ASF in the country, many smaller producers have been forced out of the market.
While the number of slaughter pigs has reduced by 9%, illustrating a short term tightening of supplies, the reduction in the number of younger pigs and piglets (-12% and -13% respectively) would suggest that this tightening will become more pronounced throughout the year. The Polish pig price has already started to respond to this movement, beginning to firm and reaching levels of almost €140/kg in May. These prices were last recorded in October 2015.
Vikki Campbell, Senior Analyst
vikki.Campbell@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8741