The IFA has accused pork processors – including Irish heavyweights Rosderra, Dawn Pork & Bacon, Stauntons and Kepak – of “undercutting” farmgate pig prices.
Tom Hogan, IFA national pigs chairman, said some farmers in Europe had been hit by a 20% drop in the per kilogram (kg) price for pigs in the last six weeks. He warned that the once-positive industry outlook had “taken a turn for the worse”.
“This undercutting of the pig price has to stop now and stability [should be] returned to the market,” he said in a statement.
‘Lack of finance’
The IFA represents more than 80,000 farmers and has suggested that Irish pig prices have recently been behind fees paid to farmers in Europe. Over the summer, the price was up to 10c/kg behind Europe, with an “even greater discrepancy” between UK and Irish prig prices, according to IFA figures.
“With the recent factory-imposed drops, the pig price being paid to farmers is now below €1.60/kg,” said Hogan.
“Costs of pig production are running around €1.50/kg and the additional cost of maintenance neglected on pig units, due to the lack of finance over the last two years, has brought the cost of production up to the current pig price level.
“The current pig price needs to stabilise and improve in the final quarter of 2017. Pig farmers have financial commitments that require 2017 to be a positive year, not just the first six months,” he added.
Big players stay silent
Four large pork export processors in Ireland account for 80% of the national kill – Rosderra, Dawn Pork & Bacon, Stauntons, and Kepak. All four were unable to respond to this site for comment at the time of writing.
According to the IFA, 10 more processors account for 10% of pigs slaughtered in Ireland; the remaining 10% of pigs are exported to Northern Ireland for slaughter.
An IFA spokesperson stressed that all European pig processors, not just those Ireland, had cut the price paid to farmers in the last six weeks.