Will herd expansion in Denmark pull UK prices down? Cyclical expansion is under way in Denmark's pig industry. However, sector analysts do not all believe this signals an early upswing in total EU production with a promise of lower prices for buyers in the UK. MLC's European Market Survey, for instance, reports the Danish July farm census results as evidence of breeding herd growth, commenting that the figures are "indicative of further expansion" soon and suggest "slaughterings will be up in coming weeks" but does not present the news as a dramatic development. Among reasons for cautious interpretation are the pressures for breeding herd contraction in some important EU pig producing states, notably Belgium and the Netherlands, and the continuing buoyancy of Japanese demand for European pork. Cynics might also assume Danish producers are building up capacity precisely because they expect competitors to restrict output growth and the main export markets including the UK to remain strong. On the other hand, Denmark's industry is restructuring quickly. This suggests rising productivity and therefore an ability to boost output profitably in the face of declining prices. Growth in breeding and slaughter pig numbers so far this year has occurred despite persistent, explicit advice to producers from industry organisation Danske Slagterier not to anticipate a long, steep price uptrend (The Grocer, February 5, p23). {{MEAT }}