Philippe Mallétroit – Director, Genesus SARL

Hog market: the price increase continues

The rise in prices started in early March continues in France and in European countries, following African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in China and Asia, important producers and consumers of pork.

Over the last 2 months (from March 21st to May 23rd) the hog price has increased by 15% from 1,283 € to 1,472 € per kg carcass, a gain of about 18 € (20,14 US $) per head.

Over this period, same observation with the price of the piglets: + 27% for 8 kg weaned piglet with a price of 29.15 € (32,6 US $) per head and + 34% for a 25 kg piglet (2,07 US $ € per kg liveweight instead of 1.54 $ in March).

No exception with culling sow price who is at 1.033 € (1,156 US $) per kg, an increase of 31 % compared to the end of March.

This price increase should continue and prices could reach record levels, while remaining at high levels for at least 2 years; the time that China is recovering from the brutal liquidation of its breeding stock and a decline in production estimated between 25 and 35% according to Rabobank. Good prospects for hog producers! And in the other European countries ? Same scenario :

Packing plants struggle to pass on price increases to retailers

While pig producers are benefiting from the prices improvement, french packing plants seem to have difficulty by increasing their prices to big retailers and supermarkets. FICT (Fédération Française des Industriels Charcutiers Traiteurs) has sensitized big stores to renegotiation of tariffs to cope with increase of pork. Some stores would seem ready.

Animal welfare and extremism

The swine industry and the world of animal husbandry in general are more and more the target of associations promoting animal welfare.

  • April 2019, a hundred animal welfare activists were blocking the slaughterplant in Riudellots de la Selva in Spain.
  • Mid-May, a pig farm in the South-East of Netherlands is invaded by non-speciesist militants.
  • Closer to us in recent weeks, videos directed to manipulate public opinion were filmed in some pig farms in Brittany, by people wanted denounce (destroy) livestock production.

Of course, in all these cases, respect for private property, respect for the veracity of the information and respect for biosecurity rules are violated.

Apart from these few examples of violent and extremist actions, the notion of animal welfare is increasingly a consumer concern.

French swine industry has introduced several points concerning animal welfare in the new specification of the brand “Le Porc Français” (a pork produced and slaughtered in France)

Moreover, some packing plants have already recently put in place production systems putting more emphasis on animal welfare : welfare pens for sows in lactation, natural light …, while some other companies work on it.

The market is evolving as consumer expectations evolve, and the hog industry will once again have to adapt.

Question : will production costs be passed on to packing plant and retailers? Let us hope it for our pig producers !

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This post was written by Genesus