Philippe Mallétroit – Director for France
As we have expected at the beginning of this year, many countries, such as France, free of ASF should show prices at record levels due to ASF breakout in China and now in other Asian countries (Vietnam, Philippines…).
On the first semester 2019 the European exports to China have increased of +41,9% that 965 768 Tons more. Over the same period, France has increased its exports by +5,9 % total, but exports of French pork to China have increased by +32,5 % during first semester (+ 70 900 Tons).
French production is quite stable, but meat consumption continues to decline in France:
After a beginning of 2019 where we had price levels around 1,17 € per kg carcass in January, the situation has changed considerably since March with a continuous increase until today, to finish at the average price of 1,699 € at the last market of September 16.
The average cumulative price in 2019 is currently 1,412 € per kg carcass and should continue to increase.
Week 37 – 372,228 hogs have been harvested in the western French area (where the main pig production is located) with a 94,32 kg carcass weight average. Last year at the same period (week 37), the number of slaughtered pigs was 371 300 hogs (6,273 heads less) with a lower weight (93,5 kg).
Following this increase, benefiting pig producers, FICT (federation who represents butchers, packing plants and caterers) would like renegotiate quickly prices with distributors and stores because negotiations they have done during the first semester do not seem sufficient and some processing companies whose raw material costs account for about 50% of the final product have big difficulties at this time.
This year Space, the biggest French livestock exhibition, was held from September 10 to 13 as usual at the Rennes exhibition center.
First of all, we have seen pig farmers more positive and happier than last year, prices improvements started last March is the main reason. During Space 2018, market price average was at 1.296 € per kg carcass, compared to 1,697 € this year. A big difference +0,40 €/kg or about 37 € (40,75 US $) more per head.
- New projects: several clients told us about projects to restructure and renovate their farms (construction of finishing barns…) and for some, the opportunity to put their production system back on its feet (marketing, partners, suppliers). It is easier to change when you don’t have debts.
- Closed doors postponed: We met some producers who wanted to retire in 2019 and who had stopped renewing their breeding stock. Due to good market prices, they will postpone their retirement and continue to produce finisher pigs for the next 1 or 2 years and make money.
- Lack of finishing barns. Feed suppliers, cooperatives…, everyone is looking to empty finishing barns. One company needs to find finisher barns for about 12,000 pigs; another one needs finishing space for 47,000 heads. We understand very well why many pig producers plan to build new finishing barns.
A hot topic at Space 2019 was regarding animal welfare regulations. Some slaughterhouses / packing plants are already requiring this type of “animal welfare” production (loose farrowing sows, straw, stopping tail docking …) while others work to implement similar requirements. Currently, without clear legislation enforced, producers are not entirely convinced to invest into changing their production style, but eventually French pork industry will have to comply with a growing social expectation and consumer demand, there is no way around it.
In addition to the notion of “welfare” expected by the consumer, the notion of “taste” is equally important in a country where less and less meat is consumed. Consume less often, but more quality!
Since 1998, Genesus has chosen this approach: produce pork with a better flavor experience for the consumer, with a 25% selection rate focus on marbling for his Duroc sire line. 20 years later, Genesus pork is totally different with a better taste than any other pork on the market.
During Space exhibition, we honored Duroc products from our French customers to fully satisfy the taste buds of many visitors.
Source : MPB, FICT, France AgriMer
This post was written by Genesus