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IFA Pigs Committee Chairman Tom Hogan has called on the pig factories to recognise the devastating consequences of paying below the cost of production. Current prices range from €1.38c/kg to €1.42c/kg, with the cost of production around €1.60c/kg.

“Farmers are losing up to 20c/kg on factory pigs. This equates to a loss of over €16 on every pig produced. Costs are rising and the feed market is showing no signs of abating. Without a significant increase, the viability of many family pig farms will be called into question by their bank managers, and the outcome will not be a good one,”

“An immediate & substantial price rise is required to give pig farmers some glimmer of hope that 2019 will see a return to breakeven margins, at the very least,” said Tom Hogan.

The situation has worsened as pig prices remain stagnant and feed has increased along with other input costs such as labour, energy, insurance and veterinary.

Tom Hogan has sought an urgent meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed to find some way to alleviate the dire financial stress on pig farms. However, the Minister has yet to even acknowledge this request.

He also called on secondary processors & retailers to support pig farmers by purchasing Bord Bia approved, Quality Assured pig meat products from certified plants.

“It is heart-breaking to walk into a local retailer and see imported pig meat on the shelf, displacing locally- produced pork and bacon. This not only displaces Irish pig meat, it jeopardises an entire industry which supports over 10,000 jobs,” he said.

Much relief to all pig farmers that the dispute between the Vets and the Department of Agriculture has hopefully been resolved.  All pig processors strived to handle the backlog of pigs that had built up on farms because of the Christmas break, and lost production over the past month arising from the dispute.  Many farmers report extras pigs on hand and weights have increased since early December.  It is important that all stakeholders work together to clear this backlog and make sure that pigs meet market requirements.  There is no change in the pigmeat market with Rosderra and Keepak on a quote of €1.38/kg and both Dawn Pork and Bacon and Staunton’s holding at €1.42/kg. 

Ireland’s percentage of the EU price has improved and is currently 104% of the EU average price as reported to the EU Commission for the week commencing 31/12/2018.

Factory pig throughput in Republic of Ireland export plants for the week ending January 12th 2019 was 69,410 head which was 53,724 head more than the previous week and 17,957 more than in the corresponding week in 2018.

Export Plants:  Top prices on a flat rate basis </= €1.42/kg in Staunton’s and Dawn Pork & Bacon, >/= €1.38/kg in Rosderra and Kepak.

Sows:   50c/kg DW.

Weekly Slaughterings:  Week-ending 12/1/2019 Pigs: 67,781 Sows: 1,629

EU-27 PIGMEAT REFERENCE PRICE WK COMMENCING 31/12/18

Irish price                                            €1.39kg

EU–27 average price                         €1.34kg

(Grade E pigs – 55% to 60% lean meat excluding VAT but including transport and bonuses).

No price change with €1.38- €1.42/kg remaining the run of pig price received over the past 3 weeks. It is with some relief that pig farmers bid farewell to 2018, a year of low and stagnant pig prices, rising feed bills and increases in overall costs. After a full review, it is clear that pig farmers produced every kilo of pigmeat at a loss of 10cent on average for 2018.  Simply put, this will not continue in 2019, as increasing numbers of pig farmers are finding their credit terms stretched to beyond capacity. There is optimism that the Asian import market, China in particular will drive demand, but pig farmers need a price rise sooner rather than later. Th ongoing dispute between the Veterinary Union and the DAFM has caused a number of delays to the kill, further compounding the backup of pigs on farms, caused by the Christmas break. 

Ireland’s percentage of the EU price has improved and is currently 103% of the EU average price as reported to the EU Commission for the week commencing 24/12/2018.

Factory pig throughput in Republic of Ireland export plants for the week ending December 29th 2018 was 15,686 head which was 44,659 head less than the previous week and 5,496 less than in the corresponding week in 2017.

Export Plants:

Top prices on a flat rate basis </= €1.42/kg in Staunton’s, Dawn Pork & Bacon and Cookstown, >/= €1.38/kg in Rosderra and Kepak.

Sows:   50c/kg DW.

Weekly Slaughterings:  Week-ending 29/12/2018 Pigs: 15,237 Sows: 449

EU-27 PIGMEAT REFERENCE PRICE WK COMMENCING 24/12/18

Irish price                                            €1.39kg

EU–27 average price                         €1.35kg

(Grade E pigs – 55% to 60% lean meat excluding VAT but including transport and bonuses).

IFA has called on Veterinary Ireland to cease their disruption of meat factories and to re-enter talks with the Department of Agriculture.

 

The problem is now most acute in pig factories. IFA understands that the organised disruption by vets in factories will result in the slaughtering of cull sows being stopped from next week. There will be further implications the following week if the matter is not resolved.

 

“It is totally unacceptable that farmers are being used as a pawn in a chess game between Veterinary Ireland and the Minister for Agriculture,” he said.

Suppliers to the main export plants continue to receive pig prices ranging from €1.38/kg up to €1.42/kg.  Both Dawn Port & Bacon and Staunton’s continue to pay at the upper end of these quotes and have not reduced prices to their suppliers in recent weeks. Despite increased seasonal demand and reports of exceptional high prices for pigmeat in certain export markets, Irish processors have resisted calls to increase pig price.  Supply of pigs in Ireland remains high with last week’s kill over 74,000 and the national kill is over 100,000 ahead of 2017.  Plans are in place on all units with their processor to handle extra pigs either side of the Christmas break.


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