After two years of contraction, the EU breeding-pig herd expanded in 2017, following price rises since mid-2016. In 2018, prices are considerably lower and the latest (May-June 2018) livestock survey already shows the trend reversing in the main producing countries covered1 (compared with the December 2017 survey). Significant reductions in sow numbers were registered in Romania (-70 000 heads), Poland (-37 000) and Germany (-47 000), partly offset by growth in Spain (+57 000) and Italy (+26 000). The case of Poland is particularly relevant, as its herd had been growing consistently since 2015. Overall, the herd in the countries in question declined by 0.7 %.
Nevertheless, the herd reductions are not yet having an impact on production figures. In the first half of 2018, EU pigmeat production rose by 3.7 %, driven by considerable increases in Spain (+8 %), Poland (+9 %), the Netherlands (+6 %) and Denmark (+4 %). By the end of the year, growth should moderate year-on-year, for an expected total increase of 1.5 %. Production is expected to decline in 2019 (-1 %), as the reduction in herd size feeds through.
1 Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the UK, which account for 85 % of the EU pork livestock. France is also included in the survey but data is not available yet.
Wednesday October 3, 2018/ DG Agri/ European Union.