Denmark’s production costs remain among Europe’s lowest

Production costs

2022 was another tough year for pig producers worldwide. However, according to InterPig’s annual report from 2022, the high efficiency of Danish pigs make Denmark one of the countries with the lowest costs of production in Europe – which is essential when prices are low and feed costs high.



High productivity contributes to low costs of production

In 2021, Denmark was the country in Europe with the lowest production costs, but in 2022, Danish pig producers were surpassed by Hungarian producers. This is probably due to the Ukrainian feed, which is usually not available in the EU. However, because of the war with Russia (the blockade of the Black sea), the Ukrainian crops found way to Hungary and Poland, so the feed in Hungary was unusually cheap, which was very comparative advantage for Hungary.


Figure 1 - Average national production costs, 2022


For many years, DanBred’s balanced breeding programme has contributed to more productive pigs. Because of this progress, DanBred finishers reach the same slaughter weight with 22 kg less feed than just 10 years ago. At the same time, daily growth has improved by 132 g per day over the past 10 years, which has reduced the time from birth to slaughter by as much as 13 days. Moreover, the DanBred sows give birth to more vital pigs than before. This means that fewer sows can produce the same number of finisher pigs with less feed than before.



World champion in sow and finisher productivity

For weaned pigs per litter, once again, Denmark was number one with an average of 15.3 piglets per litter or 34.1 weaned pigs per sow per year. The top-third of Danish pig producers produced 16.2 piglets per litter and 36.9 weaned pigs per sow per year.

In 2022, DanBred updated the breeding goals to focus even more robust piglets to increase the number of weaned pigs. This has already led to higher piglet survival in production herds with DanBred genetics. One extra pig at weaning through increased piglet survival provides an economic value of EUR 1.28 per finisher pig for the farmer.


Figure 2 - Weaned pigs per litter, 2022


The sow population in Denmark has decreased by around 10 % compared to 2021, and is the general trend seen across most EU-countries. In the EU27 countries, the number of sows decreased by 4.3 %, and in Germany it decreased by 17 % compared to 2020.



DanBred Duroc boars play important role

Denmark remained number one in terms of daily gain from 30-120 kg, followed by Sweden and Finland. The majority of Danish pig producers use Duroc boars as the terminal sire for production of finishers. DanBred Duroc has a higher daily growth and better feed efficiency compared to e.g. Pietrain. This contributes to a higher profit for you as a pig producer.


Figure 3 - Daily gain, 2022



Despite very low pig prices, increases in feed prices as well as the very high wages in Denmark, the Danish pig producers are among those with the lowest costs of production according to InterPig’s annual report. The high productivity, which is thanks to efficient genetics and balanced breeding goals, is one of the essential factors that ensures low costs of production. The top-third of Danish pig producers had even lower production costs than the country’s average at 1.80 EUR/kg warm carcass, where only Brazil MT (region of Mato Grosso) and SC (region of Santa Catarina) had  lower costs.


Who is InterPIG?

  • InterPIG is a global network of experts in pig sector economy, whose objective is the exchange of technical and financial data in each member country.
  • InterPIG has been updating annual data comparisons both physical performance and financial performance of the member countries.
  • InterPIG consists of 18 member countries, including Europe, the USA, Canada and Brazil.




Christiansen, M., G., (2023). Dansk griseproduktions konkurrenceevne 2022. Rapport nr. 61, SEGES Innovation.

Hoste, R., Benus, M., (2023). International comparison of pig production costs 2022, Results of InterPIG.



Download our App!

Most Popular

Subscribe to our newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new tips & latest updates.

cONTACT danbred

We can help you transition to DanBred genetics, technical services, transport and more. Book a time with us, and we will call you when it suits you.

Get easy access to our knowledge!

Join our list and get valuable insights and practical knowledge directly in your mailbox.

Did we prove our point?

Do you think DanBred might be the right choice for you or someone you know? Click below to get in on the progress.


Bred for Business