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March 16, 2018

 

Slaughtered pigs in EU decline 1% in 2017

 

 

Almost 255 million head of pigs were slaughtered in the EU last year, lower by 1% than in the previous year. Despite some increase in carcase weights, pig-meat production in the EU also declined 1% last year to 23.3 million tonnes, according to AHDB Pork, citing the latest figures from Eurostat.

 

During the last quarter, though, throughputs were comparable to 2016 at 66 million head. Production levels were boosted marginally on the year by rising carcase weights. Higher throughputs in October and November were countered by a 4% drop in slaughterings in December, compared with year-earlier levels.

 

On an individual country basis, slaughterings in Germany, the largest pig producer in the EU, declined 3%, driving the overall fall across the year. Danish throughputs also declined, by 4%, as were slaughterings in Italy.

 

In contrast, Spain and Poland recorded throughputs rising 1% year-on-year. These two countries have seen investments in the pig industry in recent years, and with growth in their sow herds recorded during the December census, further expansion looks likely this year, the pork division of the UK body Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board said.

 

Most other key producers also look set to increase production in 2018, following breeding herd growth. However, Germany is a notable exception, with the number of sows slightly lower than year-earlier levels at the end of last year.

 

The threat of ASF (African swine fever) and increasing regulations are likely limiting confidence in the sector and deterring expansion. As the German sow herd is the second-largest in the EU, the lack of expansion from this country could limit any overall increase in European
 

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