Lithuania. Livestock and Products. Dec 2015 Dec. 4, 2015
The Russian ban on imports of live swine and restrictions on exports of pork caused by the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) resulted in a 5 percent decrease of swine inventories in 2014 and are expected to further adversely affect swine numbers in 2015. Production of pork in 2015 is expected to decrease by 5 percent as a result of lower swine inventories. In 2015 the reduction of dairy cattle numbers is expected to be offset by higher inventories of beef cattle.
Lithuania is the largest producer of swine among the Baltic States. At the beginning of 2015 inventories of swine amounted to 714,000 head and were 5 percent lower than in 2014. The decrease of swine inventories stems from the Russian import ban on agricultural products imposed in August 2014 and from import restrictions on exports of pork caused by the outbreak of ASF in 2014. Swine inventories are expected to continue to decrease towards the end of the year and on into 2016. In Lithuania 34 percent of swine is raised in small family farms and remaining 66 percent in large commercial operations. In order to fight ASF, Lithuania will participate in the EU's program of reduction of wild boar population within the Common ASF Strategy established by the EU for the Baltics and Poland.
Slaughter of swine in 2015 is expected to be 4 percent lower than a year ago because of lower inventories. It is estimated that slaughter weight of swine in 2015 will amount 99.5 kilograms and will be 2 percent lower than in 2014. The decrease of slaughter weight in 2015 stems from fluctuations of farm-gate prices for swine. In 2014 average procurement price for swine amounted to U.S. $1.22 per kilogram of life weight and were 11 percent lower than in 2013.
In 2014 swine exports amounted to 310,122 head mainly to Poland and were 17 percent lower than in 2013. Reduction of swine inventories accompanied by ASF restrictions are expected to result in a 10 percent reduction of swine exports in 2015. In 2014 Lithuania exported to Poland mainly slaughter hogs while piglets amounted to 30 percent of total exports. Russia used to be the major market for exports of Lithuanian swine, however, increase of tariffs followed by introduction of import ban in 2014 reduced exports from 0.5 million head in 2009 to zero in 2014. Lithuanian imports of swine in the first nine months of 2015 amounted to 134,184 head, and were 10 percent higher in comparison to the same period of 2014. Lithuania imports mainly slaughter hogs from Latvia and Estonia.
It is estimated that pork output in 2015 will reach 95,000 MT and will be 5 percent lower than in 2014. Reduced pork output will result from lower slaughter. In 2014 the share of pork in the overall meat consumption amounted to 62 percent.
Lithuania is a net importer of pork. In 2014 imports of pork amounted to 61,025 MT. In the first eight months of 2015 imports of pork (mainly from Poland) were 11 percent higher than in the same period of 2014 because higher imports from Poland offset reduced shipments from Belgium and Germany. The increase of imports mostly stems from lower domestic supplies. In 2014 overall exports of pork amounted to 9,835 MT, a 42 percent drop compared to the previous year due to the reduced shipments (88 percent) to Russia. In 2015 Lithuania completed a process of veterinary equivalence with the United States and became eligible to export processed pork products to the U.S. market. According to the Lithuanian Veterinary Service the process of pork post-equivalence procedures is almost completed. The final stage is to receive confirmation from APHIS on the ASF status statement on the health certificate and Lithuania will be ready to ship pork products to the United States. It is expected that at the beginning Lithuanian exporters will supply branded pork products, like sausages or ham, to the areas where Lithuanian or Russian immigrants are concentrated in the United States.
In December 2014 cattle inventories amounted to 737,000 head and were 3 percent higher than a year ago. Inventories of cattle continued to grow mainly due to the growing popularity of beef cattle production. In Lithuania 85 percent of cattle is raised by family farms and only 15 percent is kept in large commercial operations. Growing interest in the development of beef cattle production stems from the difficult situation on the dairy market, so farmers look for alternative or additional source of income. The State Animal Breeding Supervision Service (SABSS) of the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for coordination of cattle breeding in Lithuania. The SABSS cooperates with breeder's associations, maintaining herd books, approving breeding programs, carrying milk recording program and maintaining laboratories for milk testing. They also maintain a data base and center for calculation of breeding value of animals. The SABSS also controls 6 AI centers. The SABSS is interested in developing genomic selection of bulls and finding place for testing genomic samples of bulls.
Slaughter of cattle in 2014 was at the same level as a year ago because higher inventories were accompanied by an increase of exports of live cattle. It is expected that slaughter of cattle will increase in 2015 due to reduced exports of live cattle.
In 2014 Lithuania exported 108,418 head of cattle mainly to the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Cattle exports were 9 percent higher than in the previous year. It is expected that exports of cattle in 2015 will decrease in comparison to the previous year because of higher export demand for beef. Imports of cattle in the first 9 months of 2015 were reduced by 38 percent and amounted to 4,763 head imported from Latvia and Estonia.
In 2014 beef production amounted to 48,100 MT (carcass weight equivalence). Production of beef is expected to increase by 3 percent compared to the previous year's level because of higher demand for export.
Average per capita consumption of beef in 2014 amounted to 4 kilograms and remained unchanged for the last five years. Beef constitutes only 5 percent of overall meat consumption. Although the level of beef consumption remains low, there is growing interest in consumption of high quality beef, mainly from the hospitability industry.
Lithuania is a net exporter of beef. In 2014 exports of beef amounted to 25,491 MT and were 20 percent higher than in 2013. In 2014 Russia (until August), Italy and the Netherlands were the major export markets for exports of beef from Lithuania. In the first 9 months of 2015 beef exports increased by another 12 percent. Reduced exports to Russia were offset by higher shipments to Poland. In 2014 Lithuania imported 842 MT of beef mainly from Poland and Latvia.