One of Ireland’s largest pig farms is halting its operations. Rory O’Brien is one the top five pig farmers in the country and his 2,300 sow herd is currently being cleared out at a farm in Killicane, Mitchelstown, Cork, which is a family business.
Reasons for closure There has been no indication fromMr O’Brien that the reasons for leaving the pig industry is due to problems experienced with off-farm investments. Mr O’Brien has stated that the sow clear out is because of disease reasons and plummeting returns.
“The most efficient pig farmers in this country have costs of production of 165-170c/kg but are only paid 135-136c/kg. You couldn’t sustain those levels of losses. We took a look at it and decided there was no point in continuing,” said O’Brien.
With the crisis looming, Mr O’Brien stated that there are farmers that were not coping with feeding their pigs because money is tight.
Feed costs escalating The closure of the pig farm comes at a time when issues of increasing feed costs and low pig meat prices are rife. Mr O’Brien has added that processors and retailers, and not only feed costs, have also fuelled the current pig industry crisis. “There is no commitment to Irish pig meat. The factories, secondary processors and shopkeepers have zero respect for Irish farmers. The farmer’s share is down to 17pc of the shelf price – something has gone wrong somewhere.” he added.
Generate losses “At least we saw it in time and took the decision to get out. There was no point whatsoever in continuing to generate losses on that scale. It would have been downright bad business,” he said.