Pig farmers’ struggle continues as market remains challenging

The average pig price at the moment is €1.36 – €1.38/kg. Sows are making less than €0.50/kg. It would take a very good sow to make €80, a lobby group spokesperson has claimed.

Chair of the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Pig Committee, Tom Hogan, continued: “If we were to go on 2018, Teagasc figures would indicate that the average farmer is losing €14/pig.”

“Feed costs are at €1.20/kg while other costs are around €0.40/kg. Effectively, we are losing €0.20 on every kilogram of pigmeat we produce.”

Hogan explained that according to these figures, a farmer sending 20,000 pigs to the factory annually, lost €280,000 last year.

The Pig Committee chairman said that while exports were up 6% in 2018; the value of exports dropped from €715 million to €666 million. Effectively a 6.5% drop in value.

There is anger among farmers who have remained loyal to their factories over the last number of years. The factory did not loose money.

Hogan continued that a further problem in the industry is “an overhang” since Christmas. He added that this is partly because of the veterinary dispute.

According to Hogan, there are almost 6,000 less sows in the country than in 2018.

“We are getting vibes of the factories that they don’t see any improvements until March.”

He continued: “There is up to €25/t variation in the price of feed between feed mills.”

Hogan stressed that there is the human side to the current situation also. “There is the effect of all the stress on farmers’ health as well”.

Hogan concluded by calling on the pig processors to consider “if they want a viable industry; they will have to try to improve the price”.