IFA to explore the feasibility of a pig slurry transport subsidy

Next year Irish pig farmers will be required to spread slurry on an area one third larger than is currently the case, according to newly elected IFA Pigs Committee Chairman Tom Hogan.

This will be the main impact of the new nitrates regulations, which kick-in on January 1 next, he said.

“One of my main priorities will be to ensure that the impact of the new measures for pig farmers will be minimal.”

Hogan runs a 400-sow birth to bacon unit at Anglesboro Co. Limerick. He believes that a positive perspective must be taken when it comes to using pig slurry within Irish agriculture.

“It is an extremely valuable source of Phosphate,” he said.

“A key starting point to the debate that must now follow is an accurate determination of the actual phosphate requirement on individual farms. Regular soil testing will sort this matter out.

“Based on crop requirements, farmers can then work out a three-year average slurry loading, where phosphate is concerned.

This may well require the movement of pig slurry some considerable distances. And in this context, the government should consider the introduction of a transport subsidy.

Looking ahead, Hogan believes that Irish farmers can look forward to a period of six to nine months.

“Producers are, at least breaking even at the present time. However, market prices for most of the past 24 months have been well below the cost of production.

“We have suffered a poor year despite price recovery in the last few months. Average prices this year will only be marginally ahead of last year as we have not recovered the 8c/kg drop that we suffered in October.

“However this has been a positive year for the processing industry with a substantial increase in exports recorded and when you compare prices year on year, farmers have not seen the benefit of this which is so disappointing.

“I am also encouraged by the significant number of young people coming into the industry. This bodes well for the sector moving forward.”