Pig prices are to increase by 22% in 2023, putting an “end to the [income] horrors that we saw in the last 18 months”, said Teagasc head of economics Trevor Donnellan.

“We have quite a large increase in pig prices anticipated for next year and that should be sufficient to pull the sector back into profitability. So, a 135% increase in margins anticipated,” he said.

Pig production is expected to fall slightly in 2023 as an outcome of the 8.1% contraction of the sow herd in 2022. However, Teagasc suggests that sow numbers won’t fall further, remaining steady at 133,000 head.

Pig slaughter numbers are to hit 3.65m, down 5% on 2022 levels, with live exports also forecast to be down 2% at 394,000 head.

Feed prices for the sector are expected to increase during the first quarter of 2023 by €10/t to €20/t followed by a decline as the northern hemisphere cereal and soya bean harvest arrives.

Looking at the full year, Teagasc says feed will average at €468/t, up 3% on 2022.

While the outlook for the pig sector is positive for 2023, it’s worth noting Teagasc’s calculation that despite some price increases and significant State support in 2022, the average pig farm will have incurred losses near €422,000.

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