Financial crisis: Average Irish pig unit losing ‘€3,500/week’

The average Irish pig unit is suffering a loss of €3,500 every week at the current economic figures of producing pigs in Ireland, a leading farm lobby group has pointed out.

All stakeholders in the pig sector have been called upon to face up to the realities of the present figures by the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Pigs Committee chairman, Tom Hogan.

Hogan has called for the seriousness of the situation facing pig farmers to be highlighted to banks, pig factories, secondary processors, retailers and the Irish consumer.

The Limerick farmer explained that the price farmers are receiving for Bord Bia quality assured pigs has generally remained static since price reductions in the back end of 2017 and early January 2018; it levelled off at the current price of €1.40c/kg.

However, Hogan informed AgriLand that some factories have today (July 20) imposed a further 4c/kg cut on prices.

Commenting prior to the most recent price cut being revealed, the IFA’s pig chairman said: “Current production costs are well recognised as being at 150c/kg.

“With the price at 10c/kg below the basic cost of production, an 83kg pig carcass is losing over €8.

For the average Irish pig unit, this is resulting in a real loss of €3,500 every week at current production figures.

Pig farmers are “no strangers to price volatility” and the pig industry is exposed to the world commodity market that fluctuates naturally, Hogan stated.

‘Heart-breaking’

He explained that: higher feed costs; increasing labour costs; labour availability becoming scarce; and the continued increase in worldwide pork production are all combining to keep costs rising – with no significant pig price rise in sight.

Hogan called on all secondary processors to support the local Irish pig farmers and purchase Bord Bia approved, quality assured pigmeat products from certified plants.

It is heart-breaking to walk into a local retailer and see imported pigmeat on the shelf, displacing our own locally produced pork and bacon.

“This not only displaces Irish pigmeat; it also jeopardises an entire industry which supports over 10,000 jobs in all areas of Ireland.”

He concluded by calling on Bord Bia to continue finding new markets for Irish pigmeat, but also to increase resources in order to promote domestic consumption and gain sustainable export market share.