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Slight rise in the EU pig population

Screen Shot 2021-01-25 at 2.46.08 PM

Source: The Pig Site, 25 January 2021, photo credit: Wikipedia

Figures from May/June agricultural surveys show a slight increase in the pig herd of participating EU nations. The total number of pigs in the EU member states carrying out the survey* increased marginally to 131 million head, up 1% year-on-year.

This is according to provisional data from Eurostat. This follows a period of decline in EU pig populations, as outlined in the May/June census last year, though numbers had started to stabilise by last December, writes Bronwyn Magee. analyst with AHDB.

As in the December census, pig numbers in Poland, Denmark and Spain have continued to grow, accounting for a large share of the increase across the continent. Spain was the largest contributor to an increase in overall EU numbers, up 911,000 head on the year.

Despite the threat of African swine fever (ASF), numbers in Poland also increased significantly, up 652,000 head (+6%). Poland also reported a 2% increase in pig numbers in the December census, but slaughter levels have actually been 8% down on 2019 levels during the first 6 months of the year. Pigs backing up on farm, due to disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, may offer some explanation. The situation may become clearer as slaughter figures for more recent months are released. It could also be that we need to treat either the Polish slaughter or census data with some caution.
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