My farming week: John Healy, Glenbrien, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford
John Healy is a pig farmer with 2,000 sows in Co Wexford. He spoke to Áine Hennessy about his farm, the tough market conditions and inputs.

I farm: “All pigs. I have 2,000 sows in three breeding units and I also manage four fattening units. My father is a pig farmer, so I’ve been working at it from a young age. We send four loads a week to the factory, about 700 to 800 pigs. They are sent to Dawn Pork & Bacon in Waterford and Rosderra Meats in Edenderry.”

Feeding system: “I use a Big Dutchman wet feeding system. The pigs are fed a liquid mixture of barley, wheat, maize, soybeans and by-products, pot ale and beer.”

This week: “It’s my usual routine. I’ll be checking the pigs for illnesses, making sure they have enough water and feed and that ventilation in the units is right. I have to empty the slurry tanks too after all the rain and draw it to underground tanks. The tanks I have aren’t big enough.”

Pork prices: “They’re not as good as England. It’s €1.45/kg at the moment, but you’d want to be getting €1.50/kg to €1.60/kg for it to be sustainable. Hopefully, it improves in the next few years. I’m planning on staying in it.”

Inputs: “It’s €400/t for soybeans because they’re imported from Argentina. Feed prices, electricity, security and all that are expensive.”

Family: “My parents, Geraldine and Joe, and my two sisters, Aideen and Orla.”

Quotable quote: “It’s hard to see a future in pig farming. Prices are up and down the whole time due to all the imported stuff. Some people think they’re buying Irish, but they’re not.”

IFA to oppose farm loan sales at AIB meeting
Farmer representatives will highlight the sale of farmers' debts to vulture funds as the bank's shareholders gather this week.

IFA representatives will lobby AIB shareholders at the bank's annual in Dublin this Wednesday.

The IFA will "have a presence outside the AIB AGM in Dublin" a statement from the organisation reads.

It continues: "This is part of a planned campaign to be rolled out nationally against AIB’s plans to sell certain farmer loans as part of its most recent loan sale."

Earlier this month, the Irish Farmers Journal revealed that around 100 farm loans were included in AIB's planned sale of debts to an affiliate of US-based vulture fund Cerberus.

While not a call for a farmers' protest, the small-scale lobbying is likely to be repeated around the country in the coming weeks, an IFA spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal.

AIB is 71% owned by the Irish Government.

Read more

Banks in last-chance saloon with public

Up to 100 farms in AIB loan sale

Exclusive: Rabobank sells 1,800 farm loans

Queally brothers firm falls foul of EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the latest National Priority Sites list, with five businesses not meeting the necessary environmental standards.

Five sites are on the latest list for failing to meet the necessary environmental standards set out by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

One of the companies, food processor Arrow Group, is owned by the Queally brothers, who also own Dawn Meats.

Arrow Group previously appeared on the environment watchlist in January this year.

All the companies on the list face further enforcement action from the EPA to secure compliance.

The five sites represent less than 1% of industrial sites licensed by the EPA, but account for 21% of complaints received.

Three sites are new to the list, while Glanbia Food Ireland Ltd and Rosderra Irish Meats have been removed from the list that was published in January.

The five companies included are:

  • Arrow Group, Kildare – noise and odour complaints.

  • Euroflex Teoranta, Donegal – emissions to air and waste management.

  • Western Brand Group Ltd, Mayo – wastewater management.

  • East Cork Landfill Site, Cork – landfill gas and leachate management.

  • Arran Chemical Company Ltd, Roscommon – emissions to air and groundwater.


Licensed facilities are identified as national priority sites for enforcement using a system developed by the EPA.

Points are allocated to each site based on compliance data such as complaints, incidents and non-compliances over the previous six months.

Sites which exceed a certain threshold become a national priority site and are targeted by the EPA for further enforcement action.

The farmer's daily wrap: lamb prices, milk production and Donegal wildfire
Here is your news round-up of the top five farming stories today, Monday 22 April.

Weather forecast

Tuesday morning will feature scattered heavy showers but it will be mainly dry for the afternoon/evening.

Met Éireann is forecasting hazy sunshine and another warm day, with top temperatures of 17°C to 21°C in light to moderate southeast breezes.

In the news

  • The Air Corps is to join fire brigades battling a Co Donegal gorse fire that began in the early hours of Monday.
  • Milk production in both New Zealand and the Netherlands has been tightening significantly in the first quarter of 2019.
  • The timing of two religious festivals, Easter and Ramadan, could bode well for lamb prices for the next five years.
  • The Department of Agriculture will host Basic Payment Scheme clinics in Offaly, Tipperary, Westmeath and Monaghn this week.
  • Watch potato, grain and beef farmer Mark McGurdy sow cereals through the night in Co Antrim.
  • - Coming up tomorrow, 23 April 2019:

  • Leitrim suckler farmer Karen McCabe on the never-ending battle with rushes, a weak calf and an unexpected win in the show ring.
  • The latest update from the BETTER farm beef programme from Matthew Halpin.
  • A look at what's happening on the international grain markets from Stephen Robb.