German herd stable overall but fewer sows

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

There were nearly 26 million pigs in Germany on 3 November 2020, largely unchanged from the same point in 2019, according to latest figures from the Federal Office of Statistics.

A rise in the number of slaughter pigs outweighed continued contraction in both the female breeding herd and in numbers of weaner pigs. As at 3 November, the breeding herd stood at 1.7 million head, down 5% on the year before.

The female breeding herd, and indeed the overall German pig population, has been contracting for some time. Increasingly stringent welfare and environmental regulations are causing more producers to exit the industry. The number of pig holdings, which fell by 3.3% during the year to 20,500, reflects this.

Despite the contraction of the breeding herd, piglet numbers remained stable at 7.7 million head, suggesting an improvement in productivity. Weaner numbers remained lower though.

The numbers of slaughter pigs likely reflect the German ASF/trade ban situation, as well as reported disruption to domestic supply chains due to COVID-19. Both these factors are contributing to a surplus of finisher pigs in the country, which is weighing on European pig prices more widely. Slaughter reportedly picked up before the festive period, but reports suggest a lack of capacity remains and backlogs are large.

Image of staff member Hannah Clarke

Hannah Clarke

Analyst - Livestock

See full bio

Sign up for regular updates

Subscribe to receive pork market news straight to your inbox. Simply complete our online form.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.