Last week we participated at Eurotier held in Hannover Germany.  A massive show with well over 2,000 exhibitors for Swine, Cattle, Poultry, Feed and Bio-Energy. Our Observations:
  • The exhibition grounds in Hannover are supposedly the largest in the world with over 30 buildings with many of them big enough to hold several large airplanes.
  • Eurotier was 4 days and it appeared to have had excellent attendance every single day.
  • Attendees were mostly European with a handful of Asians and North Americans.  There were just a small number of USA/Canadian firms.  Genesus was the only North American based Swine Genetic Company Exhibiting.  The largest North American display was Hog Slat, who is making a big push for Global business.
  • Europe’s Market Hog Prices vary by country, but we were told by several producers that they were losing approximately $10-$20 per head.
  • The European Union Countries have just over 13 million sows which is double of North America.
  • In 2013, it will become illegal in Europe to have gestation stalls for the total gestation period.  The investment to make the change in sow housing combined with an industry which has not made money is leading to speculation that 10-20% of sow herds could be liquidated, up to one million sows.  A major market mover with significantly less market hogs coming in the second half of 2013
  • Producers, like everywhere, lamented about the high cost of feed.  There is no place in the world that hasn’t been affected by the U.S. drought and corn ethanol policies.
  • A US swine consultant at Eurotier for the first time commented to us o how complicated European swine equipment is, more pieces, more moving parts, mores wires and more things to break.  He really questioned if these newer technologies would work in US contract barns.  He said they mostly don’t meet the KISS test, (Keep It Simple Stupid).
  • Big Dutchman had a prototype of the Swine farm of the future, year 2030.  It looked like it was designed by the Humane Society of the United States.  Lots of pens, no gestations stalls, farrowing pens not stalls, ESF’s, sorters etc.  It was a bit Orwellian but if we go there producing pork will just get harder and more expensive.
  • The size of individual company exhibits and their costs would be startling to a North American coming to Eurotier for the first time.  There were individual exhibits over 20,000 square feet, serving food, drinks, showing products and up to 50 salesmen.  Some exhibits with all costs in would be over a million dollars.  Not sure if it pays back and we get the sense that there is a type of arms race ongoing as each company tries to outdo the other.
SUMMARY European producers have been losing money like many in the world.  We expect fewer hogs in 2013, as European sow herd gets smaller pushed by gestation stall laws.  Fewer Hogs = Higher Prices.  Since it’s a Global Pork Market…Higher Hog Prices everywhere.

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This post was written by Genesus