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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farmers demonstrating in Dublin over losses of €35/pig

Pig farmers are demonstrating in the capital today (Monday, January 17th, 2022) to highlight the sector’s income crisis.

Members of the IFA Pig Committee and producers are gathering in The Square Shopping Centre, Tallaght, Dublin, at the “main” retailers to secure the sector’s “survival”.

IFA pig chairman, Roy Gallie, said it is “completely unsustainable” that pig farmers are currently losing over €35 on every pig they produce.

“Retailers will not have a supply of Irish pigmeat in the not-too-distant future unless pig farmers secure some sort of immediate price increase,” he said.

“Pig farmers that produce Bord Bia Quality Assured pigmeat have seen their costs of production increase at an unprecedented rate in the past year.”

Over the last 12 months, he said pig farmers have seen their margin “completely disappear”. He cited a combination of a “massive” increase in input costs, in particular feed, and falling output prices.

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“As a result, the average Irish pig farmer is losing about €10,000 per week at the moment,” he said.

IFA president, Tim Cullinan, said farmers are “very concerned” about their future.

“We need all stakeholders, including retailers, Bord Bia, and our minister, to take immediate steps to stem the losses on pig farms,” he said.

He added that Brexit and Covid-related issues have had a “severe” impact on the pig sector.

Since Brexit, he said the value of pigmeat exports to the United Kingdom has “collapsed”.

Furthermore, Covid-19 has also impacted on processing and supply chain, further exacerbating market issues.

“Pig farmers are suffering and cannot sustain the current losses for much longer. Without a coordinated response from all the relevant stakeholders, the entire sector is in jeopardy,” he concluded.

‘Very low’ margins for pig farmers in 2022

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. Read more.

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