Following a survey of producers and producer representatives in member countries, it forecasts:
• A decline in production of up to four percent in 2011 (compared to the current Eurostat prediction of 0.1 percent decline).
• A further decline of five percent in 2012.
• And a further decline in 2013 of five percent.
A drop of four percent next year will see European pig farmers producing approximately 883,600 tonnes less pigmeat. A drop of five percent in 2012 will mean 1,060,000 tonnes less pigmeat is produced. And if production falls a further five percent in 2013, a further 1,007,000m tonnes of pigmeat will be lost to the market.
Its conclusion is that the European Union herd will shrink significantly over the next three years, particularly in the second half of 2012 and first half of 2013.
The NPA’s predictions take account of an historical trend for pig farmers to improve output per sow every year. But it believes this trend will slow in 2012-2013 as more producers convert to loose-housed sows, to comply with Europe’s partial stalls ban.
The NPA sees a production decline in Europe in 2011 as a result of high feed costs this year (up over 30 percent), which have come on top of at least four years of losses for most European pig-keepers, caused by a combination of high feed costs in 2007-2008, market disruption as a result of the H5N1 flu pandemic, and difficult trading conditions caused by the global recession and exchange rate volatility.
In 2012 these factors will be aggravated by the European Union stalls ban, which comes into effect in January 2013. In at least five of the big six pigmeat-producing countries a third of producers have yet to convert to loose-housing of sows, which costs over £400 per sow place and in many cases the loss of some sow places. In Spain and France it is estimated that only 40 percent of producers have so far converted to loose-housing.