German pig population lowest in 25 years

At 23.6 million head, the overall pig population at the start of November was down 9% from a year earlier, reported Bethan Wilkins, senior analyst at the Agriculture Development Board and of Horticulture (AHDB) for red meat, citing the German Federal Statistical Office.

In this context, the number of sows amounted to 1.57 million head, a decrease of 7% compared to a year earlier. Poor market conditions, influenced by the presence of African swine fever in the German wild boar herd, which limits export opportunities, will influence the decline, Wilkins said. She also expressed concerns about the spread of this disease in Germany and regulatory changes.

“The pessimism about the future prospects of the German pig industry is also reflected in the number of farms raising pigs,” Wilkins said. “This was down to 18,800 in the last survey, an 8% drop from 2020.”

As for the pigs available to show up in the coming months, Wilkins said the number of piglets was down 10% to 6.92 million.

“The more pronounced drop in the number of piglets, compared to breeding sows, perhaps suggests that productivity has also weakened,” she said.

The figures clearly indicate that the supply of German pigs is set to contract in 2022, with declines expected throughout the year, Wilkins added.

“The extent to which this tightens overall EU supply remains to be seen; previously, Spanish expansion has softened the impact of shrinking German herds,” she concluded.

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