DENMARK, Copenhagen. While the industry in Germany is suffering from Corona and ASF, its northern neighbor is able to expand production and reverse the trend of recent years.
In Denmark, the number of pigs slaughtered increased significantly last year. According to preliminary data from the Danish Agri-Food Federation (L&F), 17.46 million animals were hooked at slaughterhouses, an increase of around 750,400 head or 4.5% year-on-year. However, deliveries to Danish slaughterhouses in 2019 were at their lowest level since 1990. The number of pigs slaughtered in 2020 weighing more than 110 kg increased particularly significantly, by almost half to 790,700 animals; these were mainly sows. These could not be processed in Germany last year due to slaughterhouses closed for corona reasons. The volume of slaughter pigs increased by 493,950 animals, or 3.1%, to 16.67 million head compared to 2019.
There are two reasons for the increase in pig slaughter in the neighboring country: First, herds have been successively increased over the past year. According to the latest survey, around 13.36 million pigs were kept in Denmark at the beginning of October 2020; this was 6.1% more than twelve months earlier. The sow herd also increased, by 4.1% to 1.27 million head. According to analysts, the higher herds were partly due to faltering sales in Corona times, but not exclusively. The upcoming release of Jan. 1 inventory figures will provide insight into whether the trend of adding herds has continued.
The second reason for higher slaughterings was that Danish exports of live pigs fell in 2020 for the first time in many years. According to the latest data from L&F, 15.04 million animals were sold abroad, which was 115,200, or 0.8%, fewer than in 2019. Foreign sales of sows saw a real collapse of 68.2% to just 7,580 animals due to corona. However, piglet exports also remained below the previous year's level with a total of 14.77 million animals, but only by 0.8%. Although a good 7% more baby piglets weighing up to 15 kg were marketed beyond the country's borders, there was a 1% decline in heavier piglets to just under 14.40 million head. The slaughter companies in Denmark should be pleased with this development, as more domestic pigs are needed for processing to meet capacity utilization and China exports.