Photo: Danish Agriculture & Food Council

New graphs showing production in the Danish pig sector, 2020

Despite a year of instability and pandemic, the Danish pig sector’s wheels keep turning. The following section covers developments in the Danish pig sector from 2010 to 2020.

Danish pig production is growing
The number of pigs produced in Denmark has been steadily growing over the past 10 years. The reason is the increased productivity of the Danish pig population. From 2018 to 2019, Danish production saw a decline of 0.8 million pigs. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of pigs grew again, which is why Danish pig production in 2020 was at the same level as in 2018. The economic challenges of 2018 meant that production declined in 2019.

Growth in Danish pig slaughterings - on par with 2018
In recent years, the number of Danish slaughterings has declined as piglet exports have increased. In 2011, 20.9 million Danish pigs were slaughtered compared to 17.5 million in 2020 . Denmark exports an increasing number of pigs, primarily to Poland and Germany. In 2019, Danish slaughterings declined by 0.9 million. However, between 2019 and 2020, the number of slaughterings increased to 17.5 million. At the start of 2020, the Danish price was the highest in 10 years.

Danish exports of live pigs – piglet exports remain high
As already mentioned, the number of piglets exported from Denmark has increased in recent years. The main markets for piglet exports are Germany and Poland. However, there was a slight decrease in piglet exports between 2019 and 2020. The Danish price also increased in 2020 owing to African Swine Fever in China.

Increase in Danish pig meat exports (in tonnage)
In recent years, Danish pig meat exports have risen. This is due to the increased number of Danish slaughterings.

Danish pig meat exports by country – China overtakes Germany as the largest export market
For the past ten years, Germany has been Denmark’s largest export market for pig meat. Over the past five years, Danish exports to Poland have grown such that Poland has overtaken the UK as Denmark’s second largest export market in the EU. Over the past two years, Chinese imports of pig meat have seen significant growth. African Swine Fever in China is the main reason for the increase. From 2018 to 2020 alone, exports to China grew by more than140 per cent, which means that China in 2020 was Denmark’s largest export market for pig meat followed by Germany and Poland.

Average price for Danish pigs – the highest in 10 years
The average Danish pig price has increased over the past two years. There was a fall in 2018, but the price increased by 30.6 per cent between 2018 and 2020. In 2020, the average price was DKK 11.62, which means that the price was at its highest level in ten years. The outbreak of African Swine Fever in China was a decisive factor in the rise in the Danish pig price. The calculation of Danish pig prices is based on average weekly prices over the past year. The price excludes the bonus from slaughterhouses and payments relating to weight and meat percentage.

Danish carcase weight increasing
The Danish carcase weight has been continually increasing over the past 10 years. Between 2010 and 2020, pig weight increased by 8.1 kg with the average carcase weight increasing by 4.1 kg between 2018 and 2020. Notwithstanding, the increase in the Danish carcase weight remains lower than several other major EU pig producing countries.

Read also: Update and forecast on Danish pig production including exports

Read also: Keeping the wheels turning in the Danish pig sector