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Dutch pig sector at comparative disadvantage

Increasingly, costs of pig production in the Netherlands is growing faster in comparison to neighbouring countries, due to worsened feed costs, a modestly increasing sow performance, increasing manure disposal costs and increased labour costs.

A recent research by InterPig, an international network including Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands, stated that the main professional pig production countries in Western Europe have a calculated cost of about €1.40-1.45 per kg carcass weight. The Netherlands, however, is more expensive, with €1.60 per kg.

Worsening situation for pig production

The relative cost position of the pig production in the Netherlands has clearly worsened since 2012, when compared to Denmark, Germany, France and Spain, the research stated. According to the report in piglet production, the Netherlands has a rather favourable cost position; however, the gap with Germany has reduced. In finishing, the Netherlands has very high production costs.

Figure 1 - Cost of production compared (€/kg hot carcass weight), split into cost categories in selected EU and non-EU countries.

The cost of pig production only partially explains differences in the competitive position of countries. In the report, a conceptual model on competitiveness in pig production has been presented. Given the fact that production costs in the Netherlands are losing ground compared to direct competitors in neighbouring countries, the need for improved revenues is increasingly clear.

The report suggests that Dutch producers should boost added value production. An improved cooperation of pig producers, as well as with other partners in the supply chain is required, according to the authors.

Annual international pig cost comparison

The international InterPig network makes the annual international cost comparison seeing that the Dutch pig industry is part of a European and global market. The study helps to gain insight into the competitive position of the Dutch pig business. The entire document on pig production prices can be found here.

Pig production in the Netherlands is comparatively a lot more expensive than in its neighbouring countries. Photo: Wageningen University & Research
Pig production in the Netherlands is comparatively a lot more expensive than in its neighbouring countries. Photo: Wageningen University & Research

The international InterPig network currently has members from17 countries, and Wageningen Economic Research has been a member from the very beginning.


  • David Burch

    Interesting, is a substantial addition to costs the relatively poor performance post weaning as the Dutch are not meant to use Zinc Oxide in feed, unlike the Danes, which have a 10% lower cost of production. No ZnO use can cause an increase in mortality of 3% and a 20% drop in growth rate in the 2 weeks after weaning. This could easily account for the 16c difference/kg between countries.

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