Spain supports EU pig slaughter
EU pig meat production rose 2% in April compared to the previous year, to just under 2 million tonnes.
This was 1% lower than March, though a decline would be expected given the shorter working month. Slaughter was up almost 3% from last April, to 21.3 million head. This indicates that carcase weights have been lower.
The timing and number of bank holidays differs between EU member states, and can vary between years. Higher slaughter may partly reflect more working days in April this year in a number of key EU pig producers. These include France, Poland, Italy and the Netherlands. In fact, on a per working day basis, slaughter was similar to a year earlier.
For the year to April, EU pig meat production was almost unchanged compared to the same period in 2018, totalling 8.1 million tonnes. Pig slaughter for the period was also similar to the year before at 86.7 million head, demonstrating broadly stable carcase weights.
On an individual country basis, there was a large divergence in trends between the two main pig meat producers:
Production has remained lower in Germany, the largest producer of pig meat in the EU. Volumes fell by 2% year-on-year in April. In the year to date production is down 3.4% to 1.76 million tonnes. The current pig herd is smaller in Germany than in previous years and it is not importing as many piglets and slaughter pigs to lift its production levels.
The second biggest producer in the EU, Spain, has seen a 1% rise in production for April to 370,000 tonnes. In the year to date, Spain has seen a 3.2% rise to 1.64 million tonnes, making up a reasonable amount of the shortfall from Germany.