Largest Danish pig herd since 2007
As at July 1 2018, the latest figures from Statistics Denmark indicate that the Danish pig herd totalled 12.9 million head, a 3% increase on year earlier levels. Within this, piglet numbers were 3.5% higher, at 2.6 million head, and slaughter pig numbers were almost 5% higher at 3.0 million head.
The growth in pig numbers has also been reflected in Danish slaughterings so far this year. By the end of July, throughputs had been almost 4% above year earlier levels according to figures from Landbrug & Fodevarer. This reflects previous expansion in the Danish breeding herd, encouraged by strong weaner and finished pig prices back in 2017.
Live pig exports have also received a boost from the increased supply availability. In the year to April, exports totalled 5.2 million head according to Eurostat figures, a 7% increase on the previous year. Of these, 97% were weaners, most of which were destined for Germany and Poland. Danish weaner exports have been growing for several years, which had been limiting domestic production levels. However, so far this year, it seems the higher piglet production has been able to support growth in both the domestic and live export market.
Looking forward, the number of breeding sows in Denmark also climbed on year earlier levels according to the latest census results. The number of in-pig sows and gilts was up by 3%, continuing the increase recorded in the April census. As such, despite the lower pig prices experienced so far in 2018, it seems producer confidence has been sustained. Maiden gilt numbers also climbed 5% year-on-year, suggesting that the Danish pig industry remains in a growth phase at present, and continuing higher pig production can be expected in the coming months.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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