Pigs Reports

Pigs Council Report December 2020

Pig Prices Reported on 24th November to IFA

Rosderra, Kepak and Cookstown all reduced price by 4c/kg on Friday 13th November, while Staunton’s and Dawn P&B reduced their suppliers by 4c/kg on Friday 20th.

Rosderra: €1.56-1.58c/kg

Kepak: €1.56-1.58c/kg

Cookstown(NI): €1.58-1.62c/kg

Dawn P&B: €1.58-1.60c/kg

Stauntons: €1.56-1.60c/kg

Sows: €0.46-0.52c/kg

Today’s European pig market is in turmoil, with Asian market access restricted due to ASF in Germany and continued delays in Germany and Denmark processing factory ready pigs. An estimated 750,000 pigs are backlogged and the prospects for German pork continues to be under pressure. China and other Asian countries have banned all pork imports from countries with ASF outbreaks in the wild boar population, and this has removed a major outlet for Europe’s second largest pig producer. This German pigmeat product is now flooding the European market place. Denmark’s pig sector is suffering similarly, with the usual trade of piglets into Germany coming to a near halt. The current Covid-19 restrictions and foodservice closures, coupled with a seasonal downturn in demand are all combining to drive prices down. While this is not a good situation, the Irish marketplace is better paced than many of our European neighbours. With full access to China and other important Asian markets, combined with our own domestic marketplace, we should be insulated from the catastrophe that is taking place in some European countries. Ireland has tackled Covid-19 to a better degree than others, with minimal disruption to production in plants. With grain and protein feed commodities all having experienced strong increases over the past two months, the margin over feed (MOF) for Irish pig farmers is going to come under severe pressure in the coming months. 

Price predictions are futile based on what has happened the world since March this year.  Political international trade decisions and deals have influenced the commodity pork price in 2020 and not to the benefit of Europe. A huge deficit in China’s pigmeat supply should have resulted in the price remaining strong in the EU, as the main pork exporter to China, but trade deals have seen the US become the largest pork exporter to China in 2020. Canada, Spain, Brazil, Denmark and increasing new pork exporters such as Argentina and Mexico are now exporting greater volumes on the back of Germanys exclusion from the Chinese market.

The great unknown is the extent of recovery in China’s own pig herd. With reports that over 50% of the herd was decimated by ASF from 2018-2019, the recovery has been strongly supported by the Chinese communist regime to produce more of the nation’s stable protein meat source, and become less reliant on imports. Parallels can be drawn to the Russian situation in 2014. Russia were important pork and food importers but took a political decision to ban EU imports in August 2014. The Russian regime supported the growth of their own indigenous pork and food industries, which in the space of 6 years is now at the stage of over 100% self-sufficiency for pork.

China was predicted to take at least 5 years to recover pork production to a normal pre-ASF level of production and still remain an important importer of certain pigmeat cuts. Recent feed commodity price rises have indicated that it’s the Chinese that are driving the price of soya and corn, so there must be planned increased numbers of both pigs and poultry in place to consume this feed. 

Animal Health Ireland (AHI) 

Pig farmers co-fund the Pig Health Check programme lead by AHI pig programme leader Carla Gomez. The Pig Health Check (PHC) Implementation Group was formed in 2020 and pig farmers are represented by the IFA Pig Chairman Tom Hogan, along with Roy Gallie, Maurice O’Brien, Michael Caffery, William Murphy and Shane McAuliffe. The PHC programme is dealing with five key areas;

  1. Biosecurity
  2. Pig Health
  3. Pig Welfare
  4. Antimicrobial Usage (AMU)
  5. Public Health (Salmonella)

AHI are administrators of the assessments for both biosecurity and tail biting which are delivered free of charge by veterinary practitioners (PVP) and are funded through Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) For more information on the Pig Health Check programme visit animalhealthireland/pigs.ie

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme TAMS for Pigs

After a number of years of lobbying to get the investment limit increased for this scheme, the decision to approve an increase lies with the Minister for Agriculture. Full approval has been received by DAFM from the EU Commission to increase in the Pigs & Poultry TAMS grant scheme from its current investment limit of €80,000 up to €200,000. No barrier remains, only to get the Minister for Agriculture to go-ahead and authorise this increase, another job for the IFA Pigs Committee  

Pig Welfare 

EU member states compliance with the 2008 Pig welfare directive continues to be under scrutiny by the EU Commission across the EU and by our own Department of Agriculture in Ireland. Ireland’s pig sector is similar to other European pig industries in that the vast majority of our pigs are produced in purpose built indoor piggeries, and tail docking of the piglet is carried out to prevent welfare issues arising due to tail biting when rearing pigs with long tails. Pig welfare is at the core of what all pig farmers do in caring for their stock on a daily basis. IFA have engaged with The Department of Agriculture, on how we can continue to comply with the 2008 Pig Directive.  Irish pig farmers will continue to place pig welfare on the highest footing and when a successful and achievable method of rearing pigs with intact tails under Irish conditions is proven to work, Irish farmers will work towards implementation. IFA would encourage all pig farms to have an AHI Tail Risk Assessment carried out on their farm. This TASAH-funded risk assessment is free for all pig producers, please contact your own herd vet for more information. 

Animal Health Awareness Week 2020

The Department of Agriculture held and informative week of webinars, podcast appearances, and a social media campaign to promote AHAW2020. The Pig Committee engaged with this campaign, in particular Shane McAuliffe who was a guest speaker on The Protection of Health in the Pigs & Poultry Sector.

Tom Hogan – Pig Chair

Robert Malone – Executive

Related Articles