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Opinion: Pig meat prices are 70c/kg below the cost of production

Pigs: Some farmers losing €71,000/month

In this article, a reader, a second-generation pig farmer, expresses their concerns in relation to the pig sector in Ireland.  

The pig industry is suffering substantial losses for the last eight months. The Ukraine war has compounded the crisis with a dramatic increase in electricity, gas, diesel and feed ingredients prices.

Approximately 15,000 sows are destocking now; family farms are exiting the industry with a loss of 110 to 140 jobs alone.


Pig meat prices in Ireland are 70c/kg below the cost of production. Feed prices are increasing by €50-€70/tonne in April and an additional €25/tonne in May.

The average size farm in Ireland of 600 sows is currently generating a loss of €71,000 per month (as per Teagasc).

Feed mills are at a maximum credit limit, with a huge percentage of their customers paying daily to release small quantities of feed.

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Kildare Street funding is the only option for the pig sector. If our government does not support us, we will be joining the sugar beet sector as part of history; another failed agricultural industry in Ireland.

Without Minister Mc Conalogue’s support, job losses will be approximately 40,000 employed directly, indirectly and induced within the pig sector. Then, it will be a problem for several other ministers.

Pig slurry

Rising artificial fertiliser costs have created extra demand for pig slurry, which will be no longer available for local farmers to aid grass growth.

According to Teagasc, pig manure, as a fertiliser, is currently worth €10.46 per m3 when there is a requirement for N, P and K and when N’s availability to the crop is 50%.

The state agency has revealed that this translates into €48 per 1000 gallons.

Our proposal: Pig stability fund

The Irish Farmers’ Association, the Irish Grain and Feed Association and Meat Industry Ireland held an emergency meeting on March 4th, 2022, as the outlook for the pig industry was extremely poor for the previous eight months.

A proposal was drafted and subsequently presented to the Minister for Agriculture on March 15th, 2022.

We are asking for a co-funded (50/50) long-term loan from the government. A statutory levy will repay this on a per pig structure over 15 years.

Negotiations are ongoing with the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine. Feedback from the team involved is not good.

We need as much support as possible to save our industry.

Please show your support to Minister for Agriculture and other minister and TDs.

To share your view, email – [email protected]

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