IFA National Pig Chair Roy Gallie said pig farmers are reeling following a further drop of 4c/kg reduction pig price which was announced last Friday. This is on top of four price drops of 4c/kg each over the past number of weeks.
Irish pig farmers have received a 5th cut off their farm gate pig price this week, totalling 20 cents per kg to date, or a reduction of €18 per pig sold.
For the average size family farm, this equates to over €6,000 per week drop in income. These family farms have accumulated losses in the region of €585,000 over the period from August 2021 to May 2023. With overall cost of production remaining stubbornly high, it will take another 12 months at least before farms recover their losses.
“Current projections indicate that many pig farmers bank balances will not recover to break even until this time next year. Pig farmers, including some of the best young farmers in the business, have no interest in working any longer in such a precarious financial environment. Can you blame them with the very real prospect of further financial difficulties on the horizon,” outlined Roy Gallie.
There has been a reduction in breeding sow numbers in Ireland by 12% as a result of the global pig crisis of 2021 and 2022. Unless farmers can return a sustainable margin to their businesses, there will be further reductions in the national sow herd.
These reductions in pig price show a very short-sighted view by processors and the wider food industry following such a disastrous period for pig farmers’ margins from Summer 2021 to May of this year. Farmers need a sustained period of profitable margins to recover these unprecedented losses.
“There is no significant downward pressure on the retail price to warrant these continuous reductions. In contrast, the October Kantor data shows that the average pork price actually increased,” the IFA National Pig Committee Chair added.
“If pig producer prices are dropping while product prices to consumers increase, then who in the food value chain is making all the profit? Pig farmers have had enough; if margins continue to be eroded, young farmers will stop serving sows and we will end up losing our own pig supply. That is a threat to Ireland’s food security,” he concluded.