Irish pig producers hopeful of price lift following German increase

Irish pig producers are hopeful that domestic pig prices will witness a lift this week, following on from a recent increase in the German market.

Pig prices in Germany increased by approximately 5c/kg last week, bringing the price to around 143c/kg, according to the chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Pigs Committee, Thomas Hogan.

The pig farmer from Co. Limerick is optimistic that this price rise in Germany could equate to an increase across Europe and, in turn, Ireland.

Speaking to AgriLand, he said: “It is positive to see the increase in Germany and we would be hoping that Irish pig producers will see an increase on the back of it.

It finally looks as if the summer has arrived here in Ireland. The good weather could lead to an increased demand due to barbecues.

Meanwhile, Hogan also added that some processors have indicated that carcass weights of late have dropped by between 1kg and 2kg; the average carcass weight of a pig can exceed 85kg.

This indicates that producers are potentially selling slightly ahead of production and that could also put pressure on prices in the coming weeks, he explained.

As it stands, Irish pig prices are hovering around the 140c/kg mark – and have been for basically all of this year. In comparison, prices in Britain are averaging about 164c/kg.

In relation to throughput, figures from Bord Bia show that the number of pigs slaughtered in Ireland is up just over 9% for the year to date.

This increase in throughput has been driven by the kill figures for finished pigs, with a total of 1.194 million processed for the year to date – an increase of 8.2% versus the same period in 2017.

Meanwhile, the number of sows and boars sent to slaughter also rose by 4.9% this year – bringing the total to 35,376.

2017 was regarded as an exceptional year for pig prices; but, with prices continuing to remain static, Hogan claimed that a price increase is required to help Irish producers deal with possible cash flow difficulties.

The IFA maintains that the cost of production is around 150c/kg and, despite last year’s good prices, pig producers can’t continue to operate at a loss, Hogan argued.