According to the most recent data released by the European Commission, the pig population across the EU is in decline. The latest survey puts the total pig population at 141.6 million head, a fall of 4.3 million head compared to December 2020.
The number of breeding sows had fallen by 4%, (400,000 head) to 10.8 million head.
The number of pigs due to come to slaughter soon was also down, by 5% (1.2 million head) to 23 million head.
The number of piglets on farms in December was only slightly down by only 1% to 41.63 million head.
“Analysis from AMI, a consultancy, suggests that in Germany, processors are able to take the number of slaughter pigs available, but that the supply of pork on the market is plentiful,” commented AHDB lead analyst for red meat, Duncan Wyatt.
“While pig prices have risen slightly, further rises in the short term may be difficult, although apparently in anticipation of rising prices, some animals are being held back. It may take significantly warmer temperatures and further relaxation of the coronavirus requirements to support demand.”
Mr Wyatt added that the decline in the EU pig herd might be evidence of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ as prices in Spain appear to be rising. However, he pointed out that the number of very young pigs has not fallen by the same degree as larger, slaughter ready pigs and so any recovery may be volatile.