Pig farmers are facing further income difficulties as the price of pigmeat dropped by 4c/kg last Friday, according to the IFA’s Deirdre O’Shea, with prices currently sitting at €1.39-1.40/kg.

According to the member of the Executive IFA National Pigs Committee, pig farmers are losing 21c/kg on each kilogram of pork they produce at current market prices.

Speaking to Agriland.ie recently, O’Shea added that this price drop has occurred due to supply and demand issues across Europe despite Irish pigmeat prices remaining relatively stable over the past few months.

The Russian ban has been cited as the primary cause for this supply and demand issue, but the high rate of pigmeat self-sufficiency has also been blamed for the drop in pigmeat prices in Ireland, she said.

“The industry is still feeling the effects of the Russian ban which is causing supply and demand issues, but the EU is also 106% self-sufficient in pigmeat.

There is a serious price deficit there, farmers are facing a deficit of 21c/kg for each kilogram of pigmeat they produce. It costs €1.10/kg for feed cost alone, added O’Shea.

Pig farmers are also worried about the monopoly feed importers currently hold in Ireland as feed costs currently sit at €1.10/kg of pigmeat produced.

“Farmers are not happy with these feed prices and they feel that the feed importers have a monopoly on the market. Farmers want the price of feed to represent the current grain market price.”

Reopening of Private Storage

To address the issue of poor prices, there will be a push today (November 16) at EU level to reopen the Aid to Private Storage Scheme (APS) in December of 2015, added O’Shea.

This scheme was to originally be opened in January of 2016, but opening this market aid in December will be beneficial to pig producers across the EU and Ireland, she said.

According to O’Shea, the scheme will take product out of the market which will help the market during the spring of 2016.

It takes the product out of the market, but it will come back in at a later date. January is a slow time for pig farmers and hopefully the reopening of the APS scheme might take some pressure off farmers.

“The timing and the products included are very important, there is a push to reopen APS in December of this year.”

However, pig farmers should remain positive as the European pig herd is expected to reduce next spring and the Chinese market will be valuable to Irish pig producers in the future, she said.

“There is a lot of pigmeat being exported to China. Farmers should be positive as the European pig herd is expected to decrease in 2016 which will benefit the market,” she added.