Spain had a record large pig herd in 2021

Source:, 18 February 2022, photo credit: 123RF/dimol

According to a report by USDA citing Spanish official data, both the total number of swine slaughtered and pork meat production grew 3% from January to October 2021, compared to the same period in 2020. There was also an upward trend in carcass weight.

USDA also cited Eurostat data showing that the Spanish pig herd hit a record 32.796 million swine animals in 2021, a 5% rise compared to the previous year, while the sow herd grew 1%, to 2.635 million sows.

The Spanish pork sector struggled to remain economically profitable in 2021 due to increased production costs, mainly in feed, electricity, and labor costs, which have not been transferred to the pig price.

Spain is a net pork meat exporter, shipping more than half of its domestic pork production. From January-November 2021, total Spanish pork shipments rose 5% compared to the same period of 2020, due to growth to the EU and to China, Spain’s major pork destination, particularly during the first semester of 2021.

However, from July through November 2021, Spanish pork exports to China strongly declined by 42% due to lowered Chinese pork demand. Other Asian markets for Spanish pork, North America, and Chile, developed well in 2021 but did not offset the losses from decreased Chinese demand since July 2021.
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The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.