Thursday, 15 October 2020
EU27 pig meat production in the year to July was 13.2 million tonnes, only 38,500 tonnes (0.3%) lower than at the same point last year. 140 million pigs have been slaughtered, 1.7million (1.2%) more than last year, heavier carcase weights making up the difference.
COVID-19 related production declines earlier in the year due to difficulties in some slaughterhouses, and the closure of the foodservice market across much of Europe are well known. The sector had until recently been able to put some of that behind it and more recently has increased slaughter levels above those seen a year ago.
Performance has been mixed across the bloc. Italy experienced the earliest and perhaps most sustained declines in production, finally in July recovering to above 2019 levels. Danish and Spanish production have proven to be the most resilient. Spain’s production growth has been underpinned by exports to China in particular.
Since July, the discovery of ASF in the wild boar population in Germany (in September) will have been a setback. Slaughter rates in that country have fallen again in more recent weeks, with pigs being rolled. Further constraints at abattoirs due to COVID-19 mean the situation may get worse before it gets better. Industry reports suggest a total weekly reduction in capacity of over 200,000 pigs may now exist. Sow slaughter rates will be an indication of what direction Germany’s production may take in the medium term.