There is still plenty of scope for pig farmers to improve their efficiency — that’s the message that national genetics company, ACMC, will be delivering at the British Pig & Poultry Fair.
Nationally, the top 10 per cent of breeding herds are achieving 27.59 pigs reared per sow per year while the best 10 per cent of finishing herds are recording feed conversion figures of 2.21 between 36.7 kg and slaughter.
This compares with just 22.86 pigs reared per sow annually for the average in the BPEX Yearbook 2012-13. The BPEX average feed conversion for finishing pigs between 38.4 and 102.7 kg was 2.7.
“Although there are huge variables, including indoor and outdoor herds, there are clearly still opportunities to beef-up efficiency on many farms,” said Matthew Curtis, ACMC’s managing director. “We have calculated that with a British sow herd of 400,000 head these improvements could be worth as much as £220 million on a national basis.”
He warned that while pig producers have been enjoying reasonable prices over recent months, there is no room for complacency. With a strong pound sterling against the euro, there is going to be continued pressure from cheaper imports. “It is clear that with recent withdrawals by some organisations from the DAPP price reporting system, buyers are not keen to pay more than they have to for British pigs, despite the fact that consumers have demonstrated they prefer buying British.”
He also urged the industry to be vigilant against the twin threats of exotic diseases, African swine fever and PEDv. While imported meats probably pose a major risk, as an additional precaution, he has called for a temporary ban on all live pig imports. “Our island status gives us a natural advantage health-wise and we should do all we can to preserve that,” he commented.