DENMARK, Copenhagen. In Denmark, more pigs were slaughtered in the first three quarters. Life exports, on the other hand, fell sharply.
In contrast to Germany, the number of pigs slaughtered in Denmark has increased this year, with growing herds. According to information from the Danish umbrella organisation of the agricultural and food industry (L&F), a total of 12.91 million pigs were hooked in the neighbouring country between January and September 2020; this was around 424,100 head or 3.4% more than in the same period last year. The volume of slaughter pigs increased by 2.5% to 12.38 million animals; sow slaughters rose by 31.8% to 523,900. The latter is also due to the corona-related limited slaughtering and cutting capacities in Germany, where many Danish sows are normally processed, for example by the Tönnies Group. This sales channel has been severely hampered by the temporary closure of plants and the limited capacity available afterwards.
Piglets less in demand abroad
This can also be seen in the export figures of L&F: In the first three quarters of 2020, compared to the same period of the previous year, exports of sows fell by 75.1% to only 5,440 units; instead, the animals were cut and processed in Denmark. For the first time in many years, the sale of Danish piglets abroad has also decreased. The total number of animals, mostly delivered to other EU countries, decreased by 0.4% to 11.20 million units compared to the first three quarters of 2019. This was due to the 22.6% drop in exports of "baby piglets" weighing up to 15 kg to 212,590 units. In contrast, exports of heavier animals up to 50 kg were slightly above the previous year's level at 10.99 million animals; however, despite an increase in the number of sows, this was far from the previous growth rates.
Analysts say that these will not return so quickly, as fatteners in Germany are likely to order fewer piglets in Denmark initially, due to the pigsty and full stalls. In addition, the price level for slaughter pigs has fallen significantly due to African swine fever (ASF), which makes fattening unprofitable at present. On the other hand, as piglet prices in Germany have also fallen sharply, selling to Germany is less lucrative for Danish suppliers. Overall, Danish exports of pigs have fallen by 0.4% to just under 11.40 million animals compared to the first three quarters of 2019.