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A challenging year for Danish producers

Danish Crown and Tican announced a year-end bonus payment of DKK 0.90 per kg, despite a challenging marketplace for much of 2013. Both companies announced plans to support the development of new capacity for finishing pigs, with a view to curbing the growth in exports of weaners from Denmark.

Both Danish Crown and Tican rewarded their pig suppliers with a year-end bonus payment of DKK 0.90 per kg. The high level of payment was achieved despite the challenging market conditions which prevailed during much of the year, with feed cost pressures for producers and the customary difficulties faced in passing on higher raw material costs in the market.

The results of the October census showed a reduction in overall Danish pig numbers of 1.1%, but more critically the breeding herd was 3% lower than the previous year, although commentators were keen to stress that this represented smaller, less efficient producers leaving the industry.

´000 head
% Change
12 vs 11
Piglets      2,583  2,545  2,476  +1.5 
Weaners  5,417  5,441  5,382  -0.6
Finishers  3,228  3,413 3,307  -5.4




Sows  1,245  1,282  1,243  -2.9 
Total 12,485 12,693 12,410 -1.1

Exports of weaners, primarily to the German and Polish markets, continued to rise and reached around 8m head in the first ten months of 2012. This resulted in reduced numbers of pigs for within Denmark, which fell by around 6% in the January to October period.

Danish Live Pig Exports
Jan-Oct (m.head)

  2012 2011  2010 
Weaners 7.7  6.1  5.4 
Sows/Finishers  0.3  0.3  0.6 
Total 8.0 6.4 6.0

Danish Pig Slauhterings
Jan-Oct (m.head)

  2012  2011  2010 
Total  16.1  17.2  16.7 

Source: Danmarks Statistik

All Danish pig industry interests signed the ‘Herning Declaration’ in October, calling on the Danish government to review the current environmental legislation in Denmark, which placed producers of finished pigs in Denmark at a major competitive disadvantage to their counterparts in northern Germany and resulted in a significant loss in Danish jobs and export earnings.

Both Danish Crown and Tican announced initiatives to invest in the expansion of new pig finishing capacity in Denmark, which will represent a new strategic direction for both companies, whose business has traditionally been based on purchasing finished pigs from their producer members.