GERMANY, Bonn. In the Corona crisis, the number of pigs is rising in the EU. Spain contributes half of the growth.
With the exception of Malta, the member states of the European Union have now completely evaluated their livestock surveys from last November and December. According to the EU Statistical Office (Eurostat), the pig population in the Community was increased by 2.96 million head or 2.1% to 146.1 million animals compared to the end of 2019. Thus, the relative increase was even more significant than a first interim report had indicated.
One of the reasons for this is that Spain has now also submitted its figures. The sow herd in the EU, on the other hand, was down slightly, by 0.5% to 11.27 million sows.
According to Eurostat, the pig population in Spain increased by 1.43 million, or 4.6%, to a new record level of 32.68 million head. The increase was mainly in fattening pigs, which led to historically high slaughterings in recent weeks and months. The lead over second-placed Germany in terms of stock has thus now grown to around 6.7 million animals. The number of sows kept by the Iberians remained stable at 2.58 million head, although this is likely to lead to higher production of piglets if productivity gains continue.
Livestock census results have now also been published for France. In the EU's third-largest pig producer, the herd grew by a total of 2.7% year-on-year to 13.87 million head; this was the highest level since 2011. It is worth noting that sow farmers also upgraded, as the number of dams increased significantly by 6.5% to 1.05 million head. The increase was particularly strong for covered sows, up 8.8% to 755,000 head.
The situation was quite different in the Netherlands, where the sow herd declined by 11.6% to 926,000 head within the year; the total herd fell by 3.2% to 11.54 million head. In the Netherlands, there are phase-out programs for pig farmers for environmental reasons.
Europe-wide, the strongest increase in the pig herd was in Bulgaria, according to Eurostat, with an increase of a good 20% to 592,000 head; however, this had also slumped by a quarter in 2019. The Bulgarian sow herd is even said to have increased by 29% to 66,000 animals, if the data is correct. New figures for Hungary also point to a resurgence in pig production. The number of animals kept there increased by 8.2% year-on-year to 2.85 million; the sow herd grew by 5.2% to 243,000 animals.