In total, Danish meat processing companies slaughtered 18.93 million pigs in 2014. This represented a -1.3% drop on the 19.2 million pigs slaughtered in 2013. Overall, Danish meat producers slaughtered 254,461 fewer pigs in 2014 than in 2013.
The downturn in demand saw pigmeat major Danish Crown slaughter some 307,000 fewer pigs in 2014 than in 2013.
However, there were some exceptions. SB Pork, the German-owned and Denmark-based company, slaughtered 122,000 more pigs at its Slagteriet Brørup meat processing facility in 2014 than it did in 2013, taking advantage of healthier European market demand, particularly in Denmark and in Germany.
According to the Landbrug & Fødevarer figures, Danish Crown slaughtered 14.66 million pigs in 2014 at its plants in Horsens, Blans, Ringsted, Sæby, Heming, Rønne and Skærbæk. This compares to 14.97m pigs slaughtered at the same plants in 2013, and represented a -2.1% decline. Danish Crown slaughtered 307,145 fewer pigs in 2014 by contrast with 2013.
For its part, SB Pork at Slagteriet Brørup slaughtered almost 1.6m pigs in 2014 compared to 1.47m in 2013, an increase of 8.3%.
"The figures are not unexpected given all that has been happening in pig markets in Denmark and across Europe. We anticipated that the number of animals slaughtered would fall in 2014 and, in fact, the decline is less than we had forecast. The export ban to Russia slowed activity down even further towards the end of the year. The level of slaughtering in Denmark is very much dependent on, and connected to, export demand," said Karsten Flemin, a senior industry adviser at the DAFC.
According to Flemin, the weaker figures for 2014 also reflect a "significant" fall-off in the export of piglets, which were badly impacted due to Ukraine-crisis centred trade sanctions affecting EU meat exports to Russia imposed by Moscow, which are unlikely to be lifted soon.