Danish herd shrinks driven by fewer slaughter pigs
Data from the 1 January pig survey show that the number of pigs in Denmark declined during the course of 2016, ending the year at 12.3 million head.
This follows the broad stability seen in numbers in 2015. The number of breeding pigs was stable on the year. However, this stability comes as falls in the number of both in-pig sows, of 1%, and in-pig gilts, of 2%, were offset by the 6% increase in the number of maiden gilts. Better returns for pig production in recent months has potentially led producers to begin to think about expanding their breeding herds again leading to the rise in the number of maiden gilts.
The improving returns during the course of 2016 reflects the rise in pig prices rise from a low of €120 per 100kg in March to €146 in December, an increase of 22%, following tightening supplies across Europe and improving demand on global markets.
The number of slaughter pigs over 50kg continued to fall, by as much as 8%, partly since live exports of weaners to countries such as like Germany and Poland for finishing has continued to become an increasingly important part of the Danish pig industry. This will lead to ongoing tighter supplies of pig meat for export including possibly to the UK. Denmark is the largest supplier to the UK. Numbers of young pigs were also back, by 3%, with a smaller fall in piglet numbers with the lower breeding herd reported in October contributing to this.
Mark Kozlowski - Senior analyst