EU pig meat production falls sharply in April

Thursday, 16 July 2020

By Bethan Wilkins

The latest figures from Eurostat indicate a 6% year-on-year decrease in EU pig throughput during April, to 19.2 million head. This probably reflects disruption in slaughter in some countries due to COVID-19. Pig meat output during the month was also down by 5%.

Figures for the first four months overall therefore show that pig slaughter was 2% lower than in the same period last year. Throughput totalled 81.3 million head.

However, with carcase weights averaging slightly higher, the amount of pig meat produced was only 1% lower than a year earlier, at 7.70 million tonnes.

The decline in slaughter during April was apparent in many of the EU’s major producing member states. Italian throughput was down 20%, as coronavirus disrupted the supply chain, and the Polish kill was down 16%. Slaughter in Germany and Spain was down 5% and 3% respectively.

In contrast, the pig kill remained robust in Denmark, which still slaughtered 5% more than a year earlier. The only other major producing country that managed this (excluding the UK) was Ireland, where throughput was 3% higher.

Provisional figures for May from a few Member States suggest the declining trend has continued, and may even have worsened. A 14% annual drop in French slaughter during the month has already been reported.

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