European Union Pig Numbers

As frequent readers of the blog are aware, I have an interest in the structure of the pig industry world wide. Such things as what countries are major producers of pork, trends in their production numbers, etc. The US is the world’s second largest country producing pork, with China 4-5x larger than the US in production. We are all aware of the impact of Chinese trade on our markets, with the recent decision of Chinese authorities to reopen their borders to US pork products welcomed by all.

 

In terms of being a supplier to world trade, China is not a concern, as they consume almost 100% of the pork they produce, with few plants in the country able to certify to world sanitary standards. However, Canada and the European Union are major suppliers of product to most of our foreign markets.

 

This past week I have been looking at the pork production numbers from the European Union members. If you are interested in delving further into the following numbers or have an interest in other European Union statistics, both ag and non-ag, you can go to the following website:

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home

 

The EU requires member countries to report/estimate livestock inventories every November/December. The following table has the total pig inventories of the 6 countries in the EU with the largest inventories of pigs. To give me a point of reference, I also added the December 1 numbers from Iowa for each year in the table.

 

Country

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

 

 

Pig inventory, 000 hd

 

Germany

25,784

26,103

26,334

26,335

26,989

26,821

27,113

26,719

Spain

23,858

23,518

24,053

24,895

24,889

26,219

26,061

26,290

Poland

17,494

18,997

18,439

17,396

18,711

18,813

17,621

14,242

France

15,275

15,378

15,265

15,150

15,123

15,009

14,969

14,796

Denmark

12,975

12,879

12,969

13,407

12,604

13,613

13,170

12,195

Netherlands

13,073

11,648

11,169

11,140

11,000

11,220

11,710

11,735

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iowa

15,400

15,500

15,900

16,300

16,600

17,300

19,400

19,900

 

 

While we often hear about pork production in Denmark, they rank number 5 in the EU, and are an industry in a state of flux. Germany has the most pigs, and increasingly, these pigs are being born in Denmark and shipped to Germany as weaned pigs (sounds just like the Canadian and US situation doesn’t it). Spain has shown consistent growth over the 8 year period in the graph and is now a close second in inventory.

 

The pig numbers in Poland have taken a sharp down turn in the past 2 years, so much so that they now have less pigs than France. Their 2008 inventory is only 75% of the 2002 peak or 76% of the 2006 inventory. France, Denmark and the Netherlands have all shown steady to slowly declining inventories over the 8 year period.

 

I included Iowa inventory numbers in the table as a reference point. If Iowa were a member of the EU, it would be the 3rd largest pig producer. In the world of pig production, Iowa would rank as the 5th largest country, behind China, US, Germany and Spain. On December 1, 2008, Iowa had 29.6% of all pigs in the US herd.

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