Hungary Newsflash Week 42

A new regulation on feed export, changes in egg production, grants for climate damage prevention, and the latest figures of the husbandry of pigs, cattle, chickens and sheep - The week in Hungarian agriculture

A picture of two cute pigs.
Beeld: ©Kenneth Schipper Vera
According to the latest figures, the number of pigs and sheep decreased in Hungary's animal husbandry sectors, while the number of chickens increased.

New regulative measure on feed export

Hungary’s Minister for Agriculture, István Nagy, has recently stated to the press that the ministry will be implementing a new regulative measure for the export of feed cereals. The new regulation introduces a registration obligation in the electronic transport administration system for cereal exporters.

The high prices of animal feed are already being addressed by supportive measures, but these alone will not solve the sector’s issues, which also necessitate the use of other instruments, commented Minister Nagy.

Animal feed prices are climbing steadily and although globally, the harvest of maize has been generally satisfactory, Hungary (and also Romania) were hit hard by the summer droughts and maize yields have been lower. According to Minister Nagy, this means that import feed can help supplying the domestic demand, but the additional measures on the export of feed cereals are needed for the normalization of the market.

Egg prices steadily rising

Based on the latest poultry sector report by the Institute of Agricultural Economics (AKI), the prices of eggs in various size classes have been rising in between January and September 2021. The producer price of grocery retail eggs (M, L sizes) have been €0.076 per piece, which is a 3% increase y-o-y. Various average prices in egg size classes have been increasing by 2-4%.

According to AKI’s report, the import of egg products has decreased by 20% to 12.7 thousand tons in the EU-27 in the first six months of 2021. Hungarian egg consumption is also gradually decreasing. In 2019, Hungarians annually consumed 243 eggs per capita, which is 15% lower than fifteen years before.

Egg prices at wholesale markets are increasing at a slow, steady pace. In the 41st week of 2020, the price per piece was €0.094, while it has now reached €0.11. At the same time, the price of broiler chicken feed is also rising, by €41-€55 per metric ton.

In the egg production business, the Commission’s “End the cage age” initiative might transform the market in the future. Hungarian stakeholders and producers are of the opinion that this will cause issues to the domestic sector because currently, all egg-laying hens, in all forms of husbandry, are needed to supply the market’s demand for eggs. Hungary has been against the initiative.

For more information, see our in-depth analysis of Hungary’s poultry sector.
Corn plants with ears of corn on the cob.
Beeld: ©Franz W.
While globally, maize cultivation had a good year in 2021, Hungary's harvest yields were weak this year due to the persistent drought in the summer - Which is why authorities are now instituting a new regulation on the export of animal feed.

Financial support for protection against frost damage

This year in Hungary, around 30 thousand hectares of orchards were affected by frost damages in the spring. The annual cold snaps in the flowering season are now causing massive damages in Hungary’s horticultural sector.

This is why a new grant scheme has been announced by the authorities, with a financial envelope of €13.8 million. Individual applicants can be granted up to €276 thousand for the acquisition of climate protection equipment and machinery, including fixed-in-place or mobile wind machines, heating installations and towed heat producing machines. The maximum subsidy rate is 80% of all costs related to the acquisition and installation of the anti-frost equipment.

Hungarian farmers are raising more chickens and fewer pigs and sheep

Hungary’s Central Statistical Office (KSH) has published the latest figures of the domestic livestock population. In comparison with 2020, a few changes can be observed.

In the case of cattle, the total livestock population is 931,6 thousand, of which 45% is cows, and the ratio to bulls did not change significantly (0.4% change in total). The largest number of cattle can be found in Hajdú-Bihar county, in Eastern Hungary, where 13% of the domestic herds are concentrated.

The population of pigs saw more change. The 2020 figure of 2.9 million heads fell by 1.1%. 5.8% of these were sows, the number of which decreased by 1.4 percentage points. More than half of the pig livestock is located in Southern Hungary and the Central and Eastern Great Plain regions, in the counties Baranya, Bács-Kiskun, Békés, Hajdú-Bihar and Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok.

The population of chickens saw a considerable increase: The 2020 figure of 33.4 million has increased by 7.6%, however, the number of laying hens decreased by 4.5%. (See the egg news above.) The largest chicken-farming county is Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, in Eastern Hungary.

The number of sheep declined by 3.6% from 958.3 thousand heads. The number of ewes decreased by an even larger margin of 5%. Almost half of the country’s sheep population is located in three counties in the Great Plains, Bács-Kiskun, Hajdú-Bihar and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg.

We have also published an analysis of the pig sector - Click here.