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Fewer pigs on the horizon

Pig prices appeared to be stalling during September, having reached ‘record’ levels during the summer months, as evidence emerged of a declining supply of pigs across Europe.

Pig prices across Europe reached record levels during the summer months but, for the moment, prices seem to be coming under pressure, especially on mainland Europe.

Data recently published by the EU Commission suggested that pig herds were now in decline across most of Europe. The most significant indicator for future supply trends is the numbers of breeding animals and overall these fell by 3%, compared to the previous year, with especially significant reductions in Germany (down by 5.4%) and Spain (down by 6.5%) – evidence that significant numbers of producers in those countries may have left the industry ahead of the new EU pig welfare regulations which came into force on 1st January 2013. It is likely that the impact of lower sow numbers may be offset in part by improved productivity of those remaining in the industry.

Other figures released by the EU Commission suggested that EU pig slaughtering fell by just over 1% in the first six months of the year, with significant differences among the various Member States: