Some pig farmers were advised that 2020 was going to be a record year and while it was a good year for pig farmers it never reached the heights of the expectations in January 2020.

A combination of African swine fever (ASF) detected in wild boar in Germany, a rebalancing of pigmeat demand in China triggered by COVID-19 and the powerhouses of the US and Brazil getting into the Chinese market influenced European and Irish pig prices.

The reality of a market dependent on global export markets quickly precipitated a price drop from €2/kg a year ago to €1.50/kg currently.

The expectations were always qualified by keeping ASF out of the EU and obviously that didn’t materialise, and hence the market reacted the way it did.

However, while prices have fallen there is still more profit in the game for producers than there has been for a number of years.

There are farmers making a well deserved return on investment and other farmers considering further investment as Teagasc Ballyhaise specialist Emer McCrum discusses.

Emer outlines some of the key high return areas where farmers should consider in terms of investment on pig farms.

Forecast for 2021

This week Teagasc’s Michael McKeon and Bord Bia’s Peter Duggan describe the market price rollercoaster and what to expect for pig prices for 2021.

Like all markets dependent on global influence there are a number of different issues that can impact and create change, but the fundamentals of controlling what you can within the farm gate remain.

We have covered these issues at length in previous Focus supplements such as feed efficiency, animal health and proper management and we will come back to these issues again in 2021.

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