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Exports down...and up

Danish pig meat exports declined in most of its major markets during 2012, in line with the fall in domestic slaughterings. However exports of Danish pig genetics and ‘know how’ continued to grow impressively, producing valuable income for the Danish Pig Research Centre, which owns and manages the breeding programme.

With pig slaughtering declining by over 1m head during 2012 (from 20.4m to 18.9m), it was no surprise to see a decline in exports of Danish pig meat over the year. All the key markets experienced some decline. Within the EU, tonnages to Germany and Poland were only marginally down due to an increase in shipment of Danish weaners. Outside of Europe, the Chinese market retained its significant share of pig meat exports, but, if shipments to Hong Kong were included, volumes were also down by a small amount.

Danish Pig Meat Exports

Jan - Dec 000 Tones
2011
2012
Germany
612
602
UK
281
236
Poland
210
208
Italy
125
109
Other EU
201
178
     
Total EU
1429
1333
     
China (inc. Hong Kong)
214

210

Russia
118
104
Japan
136
125
Other Third Country
   
Total Third Country
173
155
     
Total
2071
1927

Source: Danmarks Statistisk

However all is not gloomy on the export front, as the Danish Pig Research Centre announced that, for the first time ever, more ‘Danish’ pigs are being produced outside Denmark than in the country itself, due to the rapidly expanding export of breeding stock and boar semen.

In 2012, around 65 million “Danish” pigs were produced globally and around 35 million of these were produced outside Denmark. Exports of breeding stock and semen represented a value of DKK 1.5 billion – a new record.

The export of breeding stock is managed by DanAvl (also known as DanBred), who sell and distribute breeding material from one of the world’s most innovative breeding systems, which has started to make fuller use of DNA testing in the selection of breeding stock, which ensures that only the best animals are selected. DanBred sows have worldwide reputation for producing large and robust litters.

Although Germany and Russia are currently the biggest markets for Danish breeding stock, Danish farmers have also begun to export breeding stock and semen to China and a “satellite” herd with 700 breeding pigs was opened in the country in January.