Danish pig herd stabilises
Figures published by Statistics Denmark show that the Danish pig population as at 1 October decreased by over 3% on a year earlier, to 12.6 million pigs. While numbers continue to be lower than last year, the decline seems to have stabilised. Statistics Denmark also calculates a seasonally adjusted pig herd size. Relative to the June count, numbers are similar.
The year-on-year decrease came on the back of a fall in the number of pigs in almost all categories. The number of pigs for slaughter of all weights fell to 11.4 million head.
These latest figures indicate recent improvements in productivity may now have stalled. Piglet numbers were down by 3.5% whereas the number of breeding sows was only down 3%.
Danish pig meat production has been lower so far this year. Whether the fall in piglet numbers translates to a continued decline Danish production will depend too on the level of live exports. So far this year, live exports, particularly to Germany and Poland, remain at similar levels to last year. The number of pig farms in Denmark has been falling in recent years and it seems that the industry continues to restructure towards breeding rather than finishing.
There was some slight growth in maiden gilt numbers in the October figures. However, this hardly indicates a widespread appetite for expansion. Long-term concerns about regulation, EU demand and ASF spread mean producers remain cautious. This is despite improving producer margins and a brighter outlook in the medium term.