Pig farmers still remain some distance away from re-entering the black as the sector is taken into its fourteenth consecutive month of losses, the Teagasc national pig conference heard on Tuesday.

Teagasc pig development officer Michael McKeon told attendees that the sector was facing increased volatility in recent years and that composite feed costs are expected to hit €476 in December.

IFA pig chair Roy Gallie stated there was little cause for optimism in any major rise in pig prices before Christmas. His comments come as the average unit’s accumulated losses are set to break the €400,000-mark early in the new year.

This is despite most pig farmers receiving €120,000 in supports under the two Pig Exceptional Payment schemes opened to them by the Department of Agriculture earlier this year, Gallie said.


“We are continuing to haemorrhage money, between 10c and 20c/kg. Simple maths on a 100kg carcase shows that we are losing €20 per head,” commented Gallie.

Pig development officer Louise Clarke stated that Teagasc analysis showed that the average 600-sow unit is set to pay over €100,000 per year for electricity under upcoming energy rate changes.

“You can see that the average ESB bill has increased by €8,444 [per month] or if we do it over a 12-month basis, that’s over €100,000. If you break it down on a per-pig basis, it’s an additional 6.9c/kg deadweight,” Clarke said.

Grain trader at R&H Hall Philip Lynch told farmers that a drop in feed prices was unlikely to take place in the short-term, as international supplies are tight and no major increase in global acreage was expected in spite of high prices, as input costs continue to weigh heavily on farmers around the world.