European pig herd still declining

The latest figures from across Europe show that the size of the EU pig herd has continued to drop over the past year, according to BPEX.

With May/June figures now available for European countries making up about 80% of the EU herd, every member state so far is showing fewer pigs than 12 months earlier.

Overall, there were 2% fewer pigs in the EU in May/June 2013 than last summer. While breeding herds in some member states have stabilised, or even increased slightly, across the EU as a whole sow numbers declined by 3%.

Particularly sharp declines have been were recorded in the EU’s two largest breeding herds, with German sow numbers down by 5% and Spanish sows down by 7%. With these two countries accounting for more rthan 40% of EU pig production, this suggests that tight supplies are likely to continue into the early part of next year, at least.

In contrast, breeding herds have stabilised elsewhere, for example in the Netherlands and Denmark. However, even these countries recorded small declines in their overall pig numbers. The sharpest fall was in Italy, where overall pig numbers were down 7%.

The UK is one of few member states where census results are not yet available, although English figures are expected later this week, and UK aggregates next month.

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