Bord Bia’s meat and livestock sector manager Joe Burke has forecast an opportunity for the pig sector to recover after 2023’s 11% fall in pig output.

Lower pigmeat supplies over 2023 were driven by a 9% fall in factory throughput, an 11% decrease in numbers heading to Northern Ireland for slaughter and a 2% drop in carcase weights.

Pigmeat exports dropped 13% in value to their lowest level over the past five years, despite the per tonne value of these exports rising 9% on 2022.

EU pig supplies are to remain tight into 2024, with a 1.5% drop in pigmeat output anticipated on top of last year’s export fall-off of one-fifth.

“That should give us an opportunity [in terms of], I suppose, recovery in terms of Irish pigmeat production,” Burke said.

However, he added that recent price pulls below the €2/kg mark were of concern to pig farmers who were beginning to recover from a previous bout of severe losses.

Poultry output rose 4% in Ireland last year, with broiler throughput showing growth of over 2% in numbers terms.

Strong global demand for poultry is expected over the coming year, but with a possibility of reducing price attractiveness for EU exports in the sector.