Ireland’s egg producers are still looking for a 2c per egg price increase from retailers, following a week-long supermarket blockade last October.
IFA poultry committee member Brendan Soden said that while there has been some movement on price, with a price increase of 15c per dozen eggs passed back since last year, the full 24c increase has not been delivered on.
He said supermarkets have not followed through on the verbal promises they gave last year, which led poultry farmers to stand down their protests.
“The margins are still very small,” he warned.
Due to his inability to make a secure income through egg production, Soden told the Irish Farmers Journal that he has now had to cut his hen numbers by almost 50% from 55,000 to 28,000.
“I’ve reduced numbers by 50% on last year. I’m rearing replacement pullets instead. There’s more security in it,” he said.
Soden acknowledged that feed prices have dropped for his remaining egg-laying hens by about €30/t, but suggested that the egg packers monitor this closely and that a price decrease for eggs is now feared.
He said that while feed prices have dropped slightly, it is interest rates which are causing poultry farmers issues this year.
“Ninety-eight per cent of egg producers would have borrowings. There are sheds still being paid for,” he said.
Fellow egg producer Thomas Fitzsimons said the high interest rates from banks have now made it “very prohibitive for any new entrants getting into the business”.
He said that between the cost of concrete, steel and labour, a scarcity of eggs may continue.
Responding to egg farmer concerns, Aldi said it wishes to maintain “strong, long-term relationships” with its suppliers.
“In 2022 alone, Aldi agreed multiple price increases with egg suppliers. Our contracts are with all four of our long-term egg suppliers. We have been paying, and will continue to pay, these higher prices to our suppliers in full,” said Aldi buying director John Curtin.
Lidl said it is in “regular communication” with the IFA and that it has already paid significant increases to its egg suppliers in recognition of their rising input costs.