Hint of hope on future prices from new German pig census

Evidence of a decline in breeding pig numbers in Germany could provide some much-needed support to EU pig prices later this year, according to AHDB Pork.

While there are a few ‘ifs and buts’ attached to AHDB Pork’s analysis, the organisation’s reading of provisional figures from the May 2015 German pig census shows that while the country’s herd is remaining stable overall, there is a definite decline in the size of the German breeding herd.

“The number of breeding sows was over 2% lower than a year earlier, reversing the increase seen in the previous year,” said AHDB Pork. “This confirms that the low pig prices of recent months and the resulting poor profitability have had an impact.

“It appears that this was particularly felt by smaller producers, as the number of farms with breeding sows was down by 6% to under 10,000. Furthermore, numbers of both in-pig and maiden gilts were down 8%, suggesting there will be no recovery of sow numbers in the short-term.”

Noting that the breeding herd decline supports suggestions that German finished pig supplies could tighten later in the year, AHDB Pork then added: “If this is replicated elsewhere in the EU, it could provide some much-needed support to prices.”

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