EU pig production lifts in 2020

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

By Brownyn Magee

According to data from Eurostat, the EU-27 produced 2.01 million tonnes of pig meat in December. This was 6% higher year-on-year, with 21.5 million pigs slaughtered. This brings the annual total for production to 23 million tonnes, 1% higher than in 2019. Total throughput for the year was virtually unchanged (0.2%) compared to the previous year, totalling 245.5 million head.

Spain showed a notable increase in production for the year, up 8% year-on-year to 5 million tonnes in 2020. Strong demand from Asia has likely influenced production growth, which has further widened the gap in the rate of expansion between Spain and other major European pig producers. Denmark also grew 6% year-on-year, totalling 1.6 million tonnes for the year. Although, this is likely a result of fewer pigs being exported to Germany, rather than true herd growth as such. 

Conversely, production in Germany, the EU’s largest producer, fell by 126k tonnes (2%) to 5.1 million tonnes for the year. This is unsurprising considering the outbreak of ASF in the country, COVID-19 related challenges, and a contracting herd in recent years. Italian production also declined by 12% (177k tonnes) compared to the previous year.  

Looking forward, the total number of pigs in the EU-27 increased in December, with most of this increase coming from fattening pigs. This could lead to a lift in EU production in the first few months of 2021. Although, a marginal decline in the breeding herd could still point towards a more stable production in the medium term if continued increasing sow productivity is considered.

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