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German breeding piglet prices slump after swine fever found

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A farmer walks through his pigsty in Tauche
FILE PHOTO: A farmer walks through his pigsty in Tauche

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Prices for breeding (weaner) piglets in Germany have fallen sharply in past weeks following the discovery of African swine fever (ASF) in wild boar in the country, traders said on Monday.

"The uncertainty about the impact on pork sales, especially exports, following the discovery is making farmers very cautious about buying more pigs for breeding," one trader said. "This will also hit farmers in countries which sell piglets to Germany for fattening, such as the Netherlands and Denmark."

Prices in Germany were around 27 euros per breeding piglet on Monday, down from around 40 euros a piglet before the first ASF case was found in Germany on Sept. 10, German animal farming association VEZG said.

Before the coronavirus crisis in March, German prices were as high as 80 euros a piglet.

"Piglet prices are at a low level but at least are stabilizing," another trader said. "The weak prices are especially bad news for the Dutch and Danish piglet suppliers."

China and other pork buyers banned imports of German pork in September after the first case was confirmed. This caused falling German pig prices and uncertainty about pork demand.

The disease is not dangerous to humans but it is fatal to pigs and a massive outbreak in China, the world's biggest pork producer, has led to hundreds of millions of pigs being culled.

Some 13 ASF cases were confirmed in wild boars in the eastern state of Brandenburg up to Friday. No farm animals have been infected.

Germany's agriculture ministry has warned that more cases in wild boar are to be expected as the animals move around in groups and the disease is easily transferable.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan and Nigel Hunt, editing by David Evans)