Smallest German pig population for 25 years

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

By Bethan Wilkins

The latest figures from the Federal Statistics Office show that the German pig herd decline continued throughout 2021. At 23.6 million head, the overall pig population at the start of November was down by 9% compared to the previous year.

Within this, the number of sows totalled 1.57 million head, a decline of 7% compared with a year earlier. Poor market conditions, influenced by the presence of African Swine Fever within the German wild boar herd, which limits export opportunities, will be influencing the decline. There are also concerns around the further spread of this disease within Germany and regulatory changes.

Pessimism about future prospects for the German pig industry can also be seen in the number of holdings keeping pigs. This was down to 18,800 in the latest survey, an 8% decline on 2020.

Looking at pigs available to come forward in the coming months, the number of piglets was down by 10% at 6.92 million. The sharper fall in piglet numbers, compared with breeding sows, perhaps suggests productivity has also weakened.

Table of the german census results

The figures clearly indicate that German pig supplies are set to contract during 2022, with declines expected to be seen throughout the year. The extent to which this tightens overall EU supplies remains to be seen; previously, Spanish expansion has mitigated the impact of German herd contraction.

Image of staff member Bethan Wilkins

Bethan Wilkins

Senior Analyst - Red Meat

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