Irish pig prices may have bottomed out

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Strengthening pig prices on the continent may well help to stabilise farm gate returns in Ireland, according to Bord Bia pigmeat manager Peter Duggan.

“Producers prices have started to increase in Germany over the past number of weeks,” he said.

“And this is a reflection of the fact that supplies are starting to tighten in that country.

“The June 2014 census confirmed a 1% increase in the German breeding herd. However, the comparable figure for November indicated that sow numbers had stabilised.

“This would indicate that EU pig farmers are starting to destock, which should move the overall supply demand equation more firmly in the direction of stronger market conditions.”

Duggan believes that the continuing growth in pork export sales to China and other Asian countries, including Japan, is a further good news story for the Irish pig industry.

“Japan is worthy of particular mention,” he said.

“Last year we exported 9,000t of pork to that country, up from 2,000t a couple of years ago.

“But what makes Japan important is the fact that belly pork accounted for the vast bulk of this business. This is the very high end of the Japanese pigmeat market.”

The Bord Bia representative surmised that Russia’s ban on EU food imports could end without warning.