Contraction of Danish pig herd slows

The Danish pig population at the start of the third quarter decreased by 2.5% on a year earlier, to 12.6 million pigs, according to the latest figures published by Statistics Denmark.

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Although the Danish pig herd is still in decline, the drop is less significant than that recorded in April. This suggests the rate of decline is decreasing. The pig herd was also 1% higher than the April count, when adjusted for seasonal variations, according to Statistics Denmark.

The decrease came on the back of a 6% fall in the number of pigs between 50kg and slaughter weight, to just under 2.8 million head.

A large proportion of piglets are still being exported to Germany and Poland. Despite declining availability, Denmark reportedly exported 2% more live pigs in the first four months of this year than in the same period of 2018.

Bethan Wilkins, AHDB’s senior analyst, said: “The latest figures indicate an improvement in productivity, as piglet numbers were only down by 1% compared to the same quarter in 2018. In contrast, the breeding herd fell by 3%.

“Despite the slowdown in herd contraction this quarter, and improving producer margins this year, there still don’t seem to be plans for expansion soon. Maiden gilt numbers came down sharply. Of course, the impact of any further breeding herd contraction could well be dampened by further productivity improvements. Slaughter pig availability will continue to be contingent on development on the live export market though.”

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