Small fall in Danish pig herd
The latest figures published by Statistics Denmark show that the overall pig population on 1 January declined by 1.5% compared with the start of 2018. The total stood at 12.6 million head. This was also nearly 3% down on the final quarter of last year, although the pig population usually records a seasonal decline towards the end of the year.
The breeding herd followed a similar trend, although numbers of maiden and in-pig gilts were down a more modest 1% on the year. The number of gilts does tend to fluctuate from census to census but these numbers perhaps suggest there is ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future of piglet production.
Piglet numbers declined by just under 1% on the year, slightly behind the decline in lactating sows, suggesting there has been some further improvements in productivity. Rising productivity may partially offset the fall in sow numbers recorded in the coming months. The fall in piglets was also reflected in an almost 1% decrease in the number of weaners but fattening numbers declined more sharply (-3.4%). This is likely due to the continuing strength of the weaner export market, with Poland taking 11% (550,000 head) more in the year to October 2018. This could further limit Danish pig meat output in the coming months, even if rising productivity can offset falling sow numbers.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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