Polish pork production undermined by ASF and high feed costs

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Dariusz Banaszuk
© GettyImages/Dariusz Banaszuk

Related tags ASF piglet drought Dairy

Swine inventories in Poland decreased by 4% in 2019 due to the spread of African swine fever (ASF) and growing feed costs stemming from the 2019 drought, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The US organization also estimates that pork production in Poland in 2019 decreased by 3% due to lower slaughter rates.

The drought of summer 2019 adversely affected feed production and resulted in high feed prices in the second half of 2019 in Poland, noted the USDA.

Meanwhile, the rate of piglet imports from Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands last year saw a decline from that of 2018, as the market uncertainty lowered piglet demand among farmers, the publication​ found.

And swine production in Poland remains under pressure from ASF, which continues to spread in the country’s eastern and central regions, and since November 2019, in western Poland near the German border, it said. 

Uncertain outlook 

Since April 2019, farm-gate prices for hogs in the country increased to record levels due to growing pork exports and strong domestic pork demand, as per the publication.

“In November 2019, average farm-gate swine prices amounted to PLN 5.88 ($1.55) per kilogram, a 39% increase over November 2018.”

Despite that trend, the USDA estimates that growing feed costs and the uncertainty surrounding ASF will adversely affect swine numbers during the first half of 2020, said the USDA.

“Post estimates that farm-gate hog prices will continue to grow during the first quarter of 2020 due to higher domestic and international pork demand. However, lower swine inventories, as well as higher, drought-related feed costs, will reduce production through the first half of 2020.”

Cattle production trends 

Total cattle inventories in Poland last year, however, jumped by 1% - an increase in Poland’s dairy herd offset a decline in the beef herd. Beef production decreased by 3% in 2019 due to lower beef slaughter, it added.

"Post estimates that Polish cattle inventories in January 2020 will be 6.18 million head, a 1% increase over last year. Dairy production remains stable and profitable.

"Despite lower interest in beef cattle production, higher farm-gate milk prices should stimulate increase of cattle inventories in 2020."

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