There have been some pig price increases in recent weeks, but not to the extent whereby they could offset the substantial hike in pig production costs, primarily related to high feed and energy prices, said the Irish state agency.
Teagasc provides research, advisory and education in agriculture, horticulture, food and rural development in Ireland.
In an update to the country's recently formed national fodder and food security committee (NFFSC), the agency estimated the total Irish pig sector loss at €54.2m (US$57.1m) since January 2022.
Pig feed prices rose by €50/ton in April to a composite €449/t; Teagasc anticipates a further hike of around €20-€30/t in pig feed costs in May.
Overall, there has been a 39% hike in pig feed prices year-on-year (YOY), it reported.
“While a rise in pig prices is anticipated over the coming months, pig farmers will continue to lose money in the meantime. The Irish sow herd has already begun culling 10,000 sows, with a further 12,000 sows deemed at high risk of destocking over the coming weeks,” warned Teagasc in another report.
The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM) approved €13m in direct aid to pig producers on April 13, a supportive measure that was on top of a previous package valued at €7m.
Following the announcement of the aid package, the Irish minister for agriculture, food and the marine, Charlie McConalogue, acknowledged that the country’s pig industry has been under considerable pressure in recent months, with market disturbances exacerbated by issues arising from the war in Ukraine. “Despite how resilient the sector has proved itself, this is a very challenging time.”
Poultry feed price hikes
Ireland’s poultry players are also facing challenges in terms of input costs, Teagasc told the committee.
Irish poultry farmers have seen some price recovery but not enough to cater for rising feed, energy and pullet costs. Moreover, the price of eggs in Ireland trails the average EU egg price, according to the data.
Retailers will have to increase prices to support turkey producers, the committee heard.