DENMARK, Copenhagen. Pig farmers in Denmark have once again increased their pig herds this spring.
As reported by the Danish umbrella organization for the agricultural and food industry (Landbrug & Fødevarer, L&F), a total of 13.15 million pigs were kept in our neighboring country on the reporting date of April 1, 2021; this was 393,000 animals, or 3.1%, more than twelve months earlier. Already since January 2020, the pig population has been increasing year-on-year in the quarterly surveys; currently, more animals are housed than in any spring since 2007.
The most recent sample survey of about 1,800 farms found higher animal numbers in all categories, according to L&F. This was especially true for fattening pigs, which grew 8.% year-over-year to 3.13 million head, contributing significantly to the overall increase. The recent decline in exports of piglets and slaughter pigs from Denmark means that more slaughter pigs are being processed in domestic slaughterhouses. It is therefore not surprising that the stock of piglets and runners in the weight range between 20 and 50 kg increased by 2.2% to 6.05 million animals. For baby piglets weighing up to 20 kg, the increase was smaller at 0.2% to just under 2.70 million head.
According to the current survey, Danish producers also continued to increase their sow herd. The total number of breeding females increased by 14,000 head or 1.1% year-on-year to almost 1.27 million head. The number of pregnant sows increased by 0.4% to 788,000, while the number of non-pregnant sows rose by 2.4% to 477,000. The largest increase was in the number of gilts not yet mated, up 4.1% to 228,000 head. This indicates that the stage has been set for higher piglet production in the future.
The increasing pig population for some time now is also causing Danish pork production to grow. According to L&F, a total of 4.87 million pigs came on the hook in the first quarter of 2021; that was about 397,000 head or 8.9% more than in the same period last year. During the same period, live hog exports were down 1.6% to 3.78 million head. This was due in particular to a 6.2% drop in foreign sales of piglets weighing between 15 kg and 50 kg to 3.47 million, which could not be offset by higher exports of baby piglets.