Trade Price pressure on the German pig market

by Steffen Bach
Thursday, July 02, 2020
What's going to happen in Rheda? The pig farmers are waiting for answers from those responsible at Tönnies, in administration and politics.
Photo: imago images / Revierfoto
What's going to happen in Rheda? The pig farmers are waiting for answers from those responsible at Tönnies, in administration and politics.

Producer groups are reacting to the supply backlog on the slaughter cattle markets and are significantly reducing their price recommendation. The ISN demands a timetable for the new start at Tönnies.

The closure of the Tönnies slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrück in East Westphalia is causing an increasing oversupply on the German market for slaughter pigs. The German producer group Interessengemeinschaft der Schweinehalter Deutschlands (ISN) speaks of weekly surpluses of 100,000 fattening pigs ready for slaughter. The disrupted relationship between supply and demand is now also affecting the price. The Association of Livestock and Meat Producers' Associations (VEZG) lowered its price recommendation for the market week from 2 to 8 July by six cents to € 1.60 per kilogram carcass weight compared to the previous week.

Two weeks after the lockdown at Tönnies in the main factory, nervousness is growing among market participants. Up to 140,000 pigs are slaughtered at the location in the Gütersloh district every week. In Germany, this corresponds to a quantity of 10 to 15% of the total volume in Germany. Apparently it is not possible to divert the animals to other locations. This is also evident from the official statistics on pig slaughtering. Last week, for example, "only" 785,000 pigs were hooked in the Federal Republic. That was 90,000 animals less than a week before the closure of the Tönnies farm.

Tönnies Corona Bundeswehr
(Bild: imago images / Noah Wedel)

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It is currently completely unclear when the slaughter lines in Rheda-Wiedenbrück will start up again. The growing uncertainty is meeting with growing criticism on the producer side. "The fact that the pig farmers after two weeks still have no idea what to do next is an untenable situation", comments ISN chairman Heinrich Dierkes.

"The livestock farmers are the ones who suffer from the slaughterhouse closure,” explains ISN managing director Dr. Torsten Staack. Neither state government, district government, county nor the company Tönnies would give any information about how the further procedure and the schedule would look like regarding the resumption of slaughtering operations, criticizes Staack.

"With mutual recriminations and a reference to outstanding tasks of the respective other, we don't get far. In any case, it is unacceptable that political games, personal sensitivities and the settling of open accounts block urgently needed action. This simply leaves us farmers alone," criticises Heinrich Dierkes.

Clemens Tönnies
(Bild: Imago Images / Noah Wedel)

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