According to the latest census numbers, the total number of pigs in the Danish herd has risen by 0.1% on the previous year, coming in at in at 133.17 million head.
The breeding herd was in growth for a second consecutive year, increasing by 2% to 1.29 million head. Growth in the breeding herd was, however, offset by a 2% fall in the number of slaughter pigs over 50kg.
AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins noted that the number recorded at this time last year was exceptionally high, perhaps influenced by Covid-related disruption, and that at 3.05 million, the number recorded this year is still the second highest since July 2014.
Ms Wilkins also noted that the increase in the breeding herd looks set to continue in the coming months, as the number of maiden gilts retained for breeding is 4% higher than a year earlier.
“A similar rise was also recorded in the April census, and we can see this reflected in the number of in-pig gilts,” said Ms Wilkins. “Nonetheless, growth doesn’t seem to be transferring at the same rate through to overall breeding herd numbers, suggesting sow culling rates are also higher than normal. Some large continental sow plants faced disruption due to Covid last year, which may mean some producers have more older sows to cull this year.”
She added that, as Denmark is a key supplier to the UK, increased pig meat availability there will support competition from the continent on the UK domestic market in the coming months.