Map of Swine Density in Europe
This interactive map shows pig numbers in Europe's territories. Darker shades of pink, represent a higher number of live animals. For exact number of heads, territory name, and country, hover over the map. For more detail zoom in. For more information, scroll down.
Swine (1,000,000 heads)
Living swine, represented on this map is from 2016. Values from France, Scottland and Ireland are an approximation as the survey area corresponds to older Territorial Units (NUTS).
Absent numbers are represented with the same shade as 0 or light pink. Gray countries are not included in Eurostat data.
Swine Production in Europe
Spain is the European country that grows the most pigs..
Other top pig-producing countries in Europe include Germany, France, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
Largest Swine Production by Territories
The largest pig producing territories in Europe are:
- Bretagne in France with 7.4 million
- Weser-Ems in Germany with 6.6 million
- Cataluña in Spain with 6.5 million
- Noord Brabant in the Netherlands with 5.9 million
- Aragon in Spain with 5.4 million
Several factors make these regions favorable for pig farming.
A region with a moderate, temperate climate is usually ideal for pig farming.
Pigs thrive in temperatures between 15°C and 25°C, and they need access to shade and water to keep cool in hot weather.
A region with access to high-quality feed is essential for pig farming. This can include crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, and barley, as well as other feed ingredients such as protein meals and supplements.
Pigs require a lot of water for drinking, cooling, and sanitation. A region with ample water resources is essential for pig farming.
Pig farming requires a lot of land, both for the pigs to live and for growing crops for feed.
A region with affordable and available land is important for pig farming.
Pig farming requires a range of infrastructure, including barns, feed storage facilities, and processing plants. A region with well-developed infrastructure is essential for efficient and profitable pig farming.
Strong regulations around animal welfare, food safety, and environmental protection are important for the long-term sustainability of the pig farming industry.
Consumption and Products from Pork in Europe
It's worth noting that the pork consumption can vary from year to year and the ranking may change. However, these countries have consistently been among the top pork consumers in Europe.
According to the data from the the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the countries that consume the most pork per capita in Europe are listed below.
Spain, 43.4 kg per capita
There are several examples of pork products that come from Spain. Pork is an important part of Spanish cuisine and culture, and is used in a wide range of dishes and preparations. Source: Devourseville foods.
The main pork dishes served in Spain include:
- Jamón ibérico: This is a type of cured ham made from the black Iberian pig, which is native to the Iberian Peninsula. Jamón ibérico is considered a delicacy and is often served thinly sliced as an appetizer or as part of a charcuterie board.
- Chorizo: This is a type of sausage that is popular in Spanish cuisine. Chorizo is made from coarsely ground pork and seasoned with smoked paprika and garlic, giving it a distinct flavor and color.
- Morcilla: This is a type of blood sausage that is made with pork blood, rice, and spices. Morcilla is a traditional product in many regions of Spain, and is often served grilled or fried.
- Lomo embuchado: This is a type of cured pork loin that is marinated in garlic and paprika before being stuffed into a casing and dried. Lomo embuchado is a popular snack or appetizer in Spain.
- Secreto ibérico: This is a cut of pork that comes from the shoulder of the Iberian pig. It is known for its marbling and is often grilled or pan-fried.
You can get Spanish Ham on Amazon. Monte Nevado Iberico Ham 100% Iberico. This shoulder ham comes from the front part of the pig. It is characterized by its intense flavor and aromas that develop during its 27 month curing process, as well as its smooth fat infiltration.
Germany - 39.9 kg per capita
German pork products are known for their high quality, rich flavor, and versatility in the kitchen. Source: Spruce Eats.
They are an important part of German cuisine and are enjoyed by people all over the world. Some examples are:
- Bratwurst: A type of German sausage made from ground pork and spices. It is typically grilled or fried and served with sauerkraut, mustard, and a bread roll.
- Schnitzel: A thin slice of pork that is breaded and fried. It is often served with potatoes and a side of vegetables.
- Schweinshaxe: A roasted pork knuckle that is seasoned with salt and caraway seeds. It is a popular dish in Bavaria and is often served with sauerkraut and potatoes.
- Leberwurst: A liver sausage that is made from ground pork liver and spices. It is often spread on bread or crackers and served as a snack.
- Kasseler: A smoked and cured pork chop that is often served with sauerkraut and potatoes.
- Speck: A type of cured and smoked bacon that is used to flavor a variety of dishes, such as soups and stews.
You can always try these delicacies while touring Germany. Curious? Choose the date and location. Expedia will do the rest!
Denmark - 38.2 kg per capita
Denmark is known for producing high-quality pork products, and some of its top pork products include:
- Danish bacon: This type of bacon is made from pork belly and is known for its lean, meaty texture and smoky flavor.
- Danish ham: Danish ham is made from the hind leg of the pig and is typically cured with salt and sugar. It is known for its tender, juicy texture and mild flavor.
- Danish sausage: There are many types of Danish sausage, but some of the most popular include medisterpølse, which is a boiled pork sausage flavored with allspice, and leverpostej, which is a liver pâté that is often served on rye bread.
- Pork chops: Danish pork chops are often cut from the loin and are known for their tender texture and juicy flavor. They can be prepared in a variety of ways, including grilling, baking, and frying.
- Pork roast: A Danish pork roast is typically made from a shoulder or leg of pork and is seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs before being roasted in the oven. It is often served with potatoes and a side of gravy.
France - 36.8 kg per capita
France is known for several ham products, including:
- Jambon de Bayonne: This is a type of dry-cured ham that is made in the Basque region of France. Jambon de Bayonne is typically aged for several months and has a delicate flavor.
- Jambon blanc: This is a type of cooked ham that is popular in France. Jambon blanc is made from pork loin and is often served as part of a sandwich or salad.
- Jambon persillé: This is a type of ham terrine that is made with ham hock, parsley, and gelatin. Jambon persillé is often served as an appetizer or as part of a charcuterie board.
- Rosette de Lyon: This is a type of dry-cured sausage that is made from pork shoulder and seasoned with garlic and pepper. Rosette de Lyon is often sliced thinly and served as part of a charcuterie board.
- Jambon de Paris: This is a type of cooked ham that is similar to Jambon blanc. Jambon de Paris is made from pork shoulder and has a mild flavor.
You can buy Jambon de Paris from Amazon. LES TROIS PETITS COCHONS Sliced French Style Ham.
Ham is an important part of French cuisine and culture, and is used in a wide range of dishes and preparations. Reference: French Ham.
Differences Between American and European Pork
I had to include this topic because while I was living in England and travelling in Ireland, I noticed how salty was the bacon.
European bacon and American bacon differ in a few ways, including the cut of meat used, the curing process, and the seasonings used.
European bacon is typically made from the back or loin of the pig, while American bacon is typically made from pork belly.
This results in a leaner, meatier product in European bacon, compared to the fatty strips of American bacon.
In terms of curing, European bacon is often cured with a dry rub or by brining in a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices.
This results in a more subtly flavored product compared to the smoky, taste of American bacon, which is often cured with a combination of salt, sugar, and nitrates, and then smoked.
European bacon is also often served in thicker slices than American bacon, and may be used more as a cooking ingredient than as a breakfast food. References: Modern Farmer.
Swine Breeds in Europe
There are several swine breeds that are common in Europe. Here are some of the main ones:
Also known as the Yorkshire pig, this breed is one of the most common pig breeds in Europe.
It is a large, white pig with erect ears and is known for its high-quality meat.
This breed is known for its high fertility and is used in crossbreeding programs to improve the performance of other breeds.
It has drooping ears and a long body.
This breed is known for its excellent meat quality and marbling. It has reddish-brown hair, drooping ears, and a muscular body.
This breed is known for its lean meat and is often used in crossbreeding programs to improve meat quality.
It has a black-and-white spotted coat and upright ears.
This breed has a black coat with a white band around its shoulders and is known for its meat quality and hardiness.
This breed is known for its flavorful meat and is often used for high-end pork products.
It has a black coat with white points on its nose, feet, and tail.
These are just a few of the many swine breeds that are common in Europe. Each breed has its own unique characteristics and advantages, and the choice of breed depends on factors such as meat quality, growth rate, fertility, and adaptability to local conditions. Source: Swine Breeds.
If you are interested in learning more about pig breeds, Amazon has Pigs: A Handbooks to the Breeds of the World. This illustrated book includes an amazing amount of information about pigs from all over the world. Valerie Porter studies every breed, type, and variety of pigs; their ancesors and relatives; and their wild, domestic, or feral habitats.
Swine Growth and Condition
The feed for swine in Europe typically includes a combination of cereals, oilseeds, protein sources, and supplements.
According to a report by the European Commission, the most common feed ingredients for pigs in the EU include wheat, barley, corn, soybean meal, rapeseed meal, sunflower meal, and peas.
In addition, other feed ingredients such as fishmeal, lysine, and methionine are often used to supplement the diet and meet the nutritional needs of the pigs.
The report also notes that there is a growing trend towards the use of alternative feed ingredients in Europe, such as insect meal, distiller's grains, and processed food waste.
These alternative feed ingredients can help reduce the environmental impact of pig farming and improve the sustainability of the industry. Source: EC.
The conditions for swine in Europe have improved significantly over the past few decades. In many countries, animal welfare regulations have been introduced to ensure that pigs are kept in humane conditions and their well-being is protected.
These regulations cover various aspects of pig farming, such as housing, feeding, health, and transport.
In addition to regulations, there has been a growing awareness of animal welfare issues among consumers, which has led to increased demand for higher welfare pork products.
This has incentivized farmers to improve the conditions for their pigs in order to meet this demand. Source: NCBI.
Organic pig farming represents a relatively small percentage of swine production in Europe. According to Eurostat, in 2019, organic pigs accounted for only 1.7% of the total pig herd in the European Union.
This represents a slight increase from previous years; in 2018, organic pigs represented 1.5% of the total pig herd in the EU.
The countries with the largest organic pig herds in the EU in 2019 were Austria, Germany, and Denmark.
However, even in these countries, organic pig farming represented less than 5% of total pig production.
It is worth noting that organic pig farming is subject to strict regulations, including requirements for outdoor access, natural feed, and restrictions on the use of antibiotics and other medications.
These regulations can make organic pig farming more challenging and expensive than conventional pig farming, which may limit its widespread adoption. Reference: Eurostat.
Resources for European Swine
The shapefiles with European Territories was downloaded from European Commission. This was a statistical unit dataset representing the NUTS2.
The data about European swine, was downloaded from Eurostat.
The country shapefiles where downloaded from ARCGIS.
Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.