EU sow breeding herd contracts 9 percent on high feed prices
Europe's pig herd has become a victim of high feed prices as a 9-percent contraction is expected in the region's sow breeding herd, according to the British Pig Executive.
Every EU country has seen a contraction in their pig herds, according to BPEX.
Poland and Hungary have also been influenced by restructuring and the ending of access to subsidised feed. In most cases the annual rate of decline has also accelerated compared with the previous year.
EU member states are only required to carry out surveys of pig numbers once a year, in December writes Tony Fowler, BPEX Ltd. However a year is a long time in the pig industry, and consequently most major producing countries also carry out surveys around mid-year.
Sow numbers in the eight member states for which mid-year results are available account for 73 per cent of total EU numbers. From the figures, it is estimated that the total EU breeding herd in June 2008 was nine percent smaller than in June 2007.
There were 15.03 million breeding sows in the EU-27 in December 2007. If the 9-percent decline continues in December 2008 breeding sows would total 13.68 million, the lowest breeding herd for at least 20 years, according to BPEX.