Hungary: Slaughterhouse figures increasing

The meat sector seems to be bouncing back this year – But rising feed prices changed sectoral trends.

Close-up of a curious pig's snout sticking out of behind a fence.
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According to a new report by the Institute of Agricultural Economics (AKI), slaughterhouse processing has increased in every livestock sector in Hungary in the first half of 2021. While overall, the number of pigs decreased this year, the number of sows sent to slaughterhouses increased and so did the figures for poultry, following the lifting of pandemic measures.

In the first six months of 2021, the number of cattle slaughtered increased by 1%, and the numbers of pigs and poultry increased by 5.9% and 8.9%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2020.

However, what will make the preservation of the pig livestock population more difficult is that the slaughtering of sows increased by 39%.

A possible major factor behind this change and the decline in the stock was rising market difficulties. According to the latest data by the Central Statistical Office (KSH), the purchase price of live animals increased to €1.17 per kilogram by March, however, the price stagnated throughout the second quarter and by the third quarter, it actually sank under €1.11/kg. Meanwhile, the trends on the feed market have been turning the screw on pig farmers – In the first two quarters alone, feed prices increased by 22%. The Ministry of Agriculture stepped in with a €3.34 million funding for compensation for domestic pig farmers and a national popularization campaign for pork consumption.

The volume of slaughtered sheep and cattle increased by 47% and 1%, respectively, in January-August 2021. In the case of the trade of live cattle the volume of the export increased by 62%, while imports rose by 12%.

The number of slaughtered poultry also increased this year, and 79% of the animals were chickens. However, according to the latest data by KSH, the annual increase trend in the purchase price of slaughter poultry weakened from 9.7% in May to 9.2% at the end of the period. As the rate of the purchase price increase decelerated, poultry farmers were less able to pass on the input cost increase caused by rising feed prices.

In the case of water fowls (which is an export-oriented sector), the disruptions that were caused by the collapse of the HORECA industries in 2020 now seem to be clearing up. The total figures for slaughtered ducks and geese increased by 43% and 18% in Q1-Q2 2021 respectively, while the number of slaughtered turkeys dropped by 13.8%.

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