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European pig producers facing crisis

Both the Dutch and Danish herd sizes are shrinking and pig producers throughout Europe are in crisis. The Danish herd is nearly eight per cent smaller than it was a year ago and when viewed against the ten percent fall recorded in summer; this suggests a tentative stabilisation rather than a recovery.

Dutch herd
Contraction in the Dutch herd started later than in other parts of Europe but is now significant, with this year's August census showing a year on year drop of four percent in the breeding herd.

Pig World Publisher Digby Scott has some thoughts on the subject: European pig producers have invested heavily in efficient pig production and now they see mounting losses, their outlets shrinking and extra environmental and animal welfare costs they cannot afford.

European pig producers are in crisis and for the first time units are lying empty because new or existing producers are no longer coming forward to step into the shoes of those who have given up the struggle.

Low-cost imports
Even those who are hanging on by their fingertips are wondering if there is any point, because if red-tape and poor prices don't get them now, low-cost imports from Brazil and the United States will get them in the future.

It is a gloomy prospect. So gloomy that in the next few years Europe's large processors and retailers might find their gravy train running into the buffers as the European pig cycle breaks beyond apparent repair, just as Britain's did a decade ago.

Source: BPEX

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