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Steady as she goes...

The April census indicated a stable level of pig production in Denmark, although recent information also confirmed the continuing reduction in the number of pig producing farms. The industry is hopeful that a more flexible approach by government to environmental legislation will allow Danish farmers to realise their full potential in global markets.

The latest pig census, undertaken in Denmark, indicated that pig production may have now stabilised. This follows results from previous censuses, which suggested that overall pig production may be in decline. The crucial figure, namely that of the total number of breeding pigs, actually showed a small increase on the previous year, but there was a drop recorded in the number of ‘maiden gilts’. 


Data on the number of farms producing pigs in Denmark showed a continuing decline in 2012 to just over 4,000 units, as larger producers continued to increase their share of overall production. The number of farms producing pigs has declined by just under two-thirds in the last decade, but, over the same period, production has risen from just over 20 million to over 29 million pigs. 


The industry is hopeful that a more ‘targeted’ approach to environmental and other legislation will allow the Danish food and farming industry to exploit its true potential on global markets. This emerged as a recommendation in a report (‘A New Start’), published by the Commission on Nature and Agriculture during April, with some recognition that overly strict and inflexible rules had damaged Denmark’s competitiveness, with little real benefit for the environment.

"If the Commission's proposals are translated into new and modern environmental regulation, it will benefit Denmark as a whole,” said Lars Hvidtfeldt, Vice-Chairman, Danish Agriculture and Food Council. “We in agriculture are ready to increase production while also ensuring an improved environment. Denmark is an “El Dorado” when it comes to food production, and the way environmental legislation is currently constructed prevents us from exploiting the potential."

The industry is also examining the detail of the government’s new ‘Environmental Technology Scheme’, providing grants for introduction of new technologies with demonstrable benefit in terms of a reduction of the environmental impact of production. If this support is taken up, it will provide a welcome boost to expansion of new, environmentally friendly pig finishing capacity in Denmark, and reduce the high levels of weaners currently exported for finishing in Germany, Poland and in other EU countries.