Irish pig prices are forecast to continue to decrease in 2024 and are expected to fall by 11%, according to Teagasc’s annual outlook report.

This, according to Teagasc, represents a decrease to €2/kg in 2024.

Despite this drop in output price, the Irish pig sector is expected to continue to deliver moderate levels of profitability in 2024, following significant losses in 2021 and 2022.

2024 expectations

In 2024, the size of the Irish sow herd is expected to stabilise or marginally increase after a significant reduction in 2022 and 2023, but the tight supply volume of Irish pigs is expected to continue.

Michael McKeon, pig development officer at Teagasc, said that the tightened pig supply across Europe is going to put a floor underneath the market.

“The sow herd across Europe has been down to a very low level. We’re not going to see the expansion in 2024, except maybe for the Spanish herd, where we might see small expansion, but overall, the supply of pigmeat is going to be very tight in 2024 and that’s going to put a floor under the market.

“Pig price isn’t going to be as high as it was this year, but it will still help put a floor in the market,” he said.

Production costs

A modest drop in production costs is forecast, as Irish pig production is expected to increase slightly in 2024 and the margin over feed should drop to 61c/kg.

Pig farmers incurred substantial losses in 2021 and 2022, due to low pig prices and record-high feed and energy prices. However, Irish pig prices rose substantially in 2023, returning the sector to profitability.

The volume of Irish pigs slaughtered decreased to 3.48m in 2023, which was a decrease of 360,000 pigs, or -9.3%, on the 2022 level and similar to the 2014 level, the report said.