Despite this rise in the number of pigs, farmgate prices of European pigs remains 7% higher than this time last year, although they have been dipping in recent weeks, according to data from the European Commission.
Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands - all of which are considered to be major pig producers - have experienced a drop in producer returns over recent weeks. Juxtaposing this, Spain and Italy, which are both influenced by seasonal demands and tourism, have seen prices stabilise or climb steadily.
Farmgate prices within Europe often tend to plateau during the summer months, before they dip in late September. according to QMS. An early dip indicates that there may be some changes taking place in the supply and demand balance across the continent.
Whilst prices have been steady, data shows that there has been a slowdown in exports, subsequently leaving more produce available on the European market. Pigmeat exports have dropped around 6% in the first third of the year, with a drop of almost a quarter (23%) of exports to China.
Chinese trade data showed that there has been a decline of 23% in their imports during May, with Chinese wholesale pigmeat prices falling around 20% since the Chinese New Year, which has added to the pressure on Europeam producer prices.
Meanwhile, UK and Scottish producers are experiencing an increase in farmgate prices, with current prices around 28% higher than they were a year ago. On a Euro basis, UK prices are 23% higher than a year ago, with prices going from 9% below the Euro average to 6% above it currently.