After two consecutive years of increased pig meat production in the European Union, 2012 marked a 2% decrease. High feed costs, the restructuring process or the implementation of new welfare rules are the main drivers for such a decline in herd numbers and in meat production. Tight supply conditions are likely to continue in 2013 at a very similar pace (-2%) as indicated by the December 2012 survey and by slaughtering data for the first months of the year.
The census set the EU live swine herd lower by 1.8% against the previous year at 145.8 million heads, driven mainly by the dramatic fall in Poland (-14.7%) and lower numbers in Spain (-1.5%), France (-1.4%) and Denmark (- 0.5%); on the contrary, Germany's herd, which accounts for 20% of EU total, increased by 3.4%, partially offsetting the decline in the other countries.
As for production, increased slaughterings in Germany (+1.3%) in the first months were not enough to compensate for the declines in Denmark (-7%), Spain (-3.7%), France (-2.3%), Netherlands (-5%) and Poland (-1.4%).
Projected lower cereal prices on the assumed good 2013 harvest are expected to help increase production and stabilise consumption in 2014. With the accession to the EU, Croatia will add approximately 1.2 million heads to the EU total pig herd (December 2012 census), sourcing 86 thousand tonnes of meat per year or a small 0.4% of EU pig meat production.
Thursday July 4, 2013/ Short-term outlook for arable crop, meat and dairy markets/ European Union.