According to the Teagasc Outlook 2022 Economic Prospects for Agriculture publication, Irish pig farmers will experience “very low margins” in 2022.
Economists stated that pig farmers reported “high” profitability in 2019 and 2020 and “a fall” in margins last year.
Overall, they predict that output values will be up on 2021 and input expenditure will increase “slightly”, but incomes will fall.
Furthermore, the December 2021 composite pig feed price of €363/tonne will increase in Q1 of this year.
The state agency forecasts that feed ingredient prices will decrease in Q2 and Q3 of this year, with expectations of higher harvest yields in the northern hemisphere.
Forecasts for the 2022 South American (SA) soybean harvest suggest it will increase relative to 2021 and is forecast to reach 140 mt.
An increased SA harvest in Q1 2022 will reduce soybean prices for the remainder of 2022.
The body said the annualised composite pig feed price is forecast to increase by 6% this year relative to 2021. This represents an increase to 125c/kg in 2022 compared with 118c/kg last year.
Sow herd sizes and pig prices
This year, it expects the size of the Irish sow herd to remain unchanged. However, it does expect the volume of Irish pigs slaughtered to increase by 1% to exceed the 4 million head market.
In 2022, the size of the EU sow herd is “likely to continue” to decrease in the main pig producing countries, except for Spain.
The report authors added that they expect the average Irish pig sale weight to increase by 1% in 2022 to 117 kg.
“The volume of pigmeat exports from the EU to China will have an important influence on the Irish pig price in 2022,” the report outlined.
“It is expected that China’s import requirements will increase as 2022 progresses, with a higher Chinese domestic price making imports attractive,” it added.
The report outlined that African Swine Fever (ASF) will continue to feature this year.
It cited Germany “struggling” to prevent further cases due to infected wild boars crossing their border from Eastern Europe as a primary reason for this.
This year, the Irish pig price is forecast to be a moderate 1.63c per kg. However, the state agency acknowledged that ASF developments and Chinese import demand “highly” influences this.
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