Hogan: ‘Pig price rise must continue’

Pig processors have been called on to “take notice of their European counterparts and pass on similar price increases” that have been seen in recent weeks.

The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Pigs Committee chairman, Tom Hogan, made the call following the announcement of a price increase of 4c/kg by all pig processors for this week’s kill.

Commenting on this week’s pig price, Hogan called on processors “not to be using smaller suppliers or those located in peripheral regions of Ireland to balance the books with cheaper, under-priced pigs”.

Hogan welcomed the increase in this week’s price but said: “It is simply not enough given the dramatic improvement in market conditions.”

He also drew attention to the fact that over the past year, “pig farmers have endured continually losing money – week after week”.

He said: “Pig farmers need to recover their losses now with a realistic pig that the market can afford to pay.

The dramatic increase in the sow price in recent weeks is evident of the ability to pay substantially more than they are quoting for prime pigs.

Crisis meeting

The IFA held a crisis pig meeting of all farmers on Monday last week following the failure of the Irish pig factories to “adequately reflect” the rising markets and return a “much improved pig price”.

Hogan continued: “Following this meeting, the IFA organised delegations of suppliers to meet their processors and demand a fully justified 10c/kg increase in the Irish pig price.

There is an estimated 2-3% reduction in the European sow herd which will leave available pork supplied tighter on the market as the year progresses.

Hogan reiterated that pig farmers endured low pig prices combined with rising feed costs in 2018, resulting in the lowest margin over feed experienced in the last 20 years.

“These pig farmers are battered and bruised financially and mentality,” he said.

Concluding, Hogan stressed: “Irish pig farmers need to see the benefits of the prevailing market conditions to their full effects immediately so they can begin the process of repaying the massive debt levels that have accumulated over the past 14 months.”