The costs of pig meat production in 17 countries during 2017 are examined in a new report, which shows an 8% increase in cost of production.
The report shows that the cost of pig meat production in Great Britain increased by 8% in 2017, to £1.37 per kg.
The average cost of production in the EU also increased, to £1.36 per kg, a 7% increase, in sterling terms.
In contrast with 2016, this reflects an increase in the costs of production across all sampled EU countries.
Comparing Britain’s cost of production with that of one of its main competitors, Denmark’s cost of production during 2017 was a much lower £1.18 per kg.
The report also shows an increase, once again, in the overall average number of pigs weaned per sow per year in the 17 countries included in the analysis, up from 27.32 in 2016 to 27.9 in 2017, representing nearly a 2% increase.
In Britain, the increase was slightly greater, at 4%, bringing the average number of pigs weaned per sow per year up to 25.75, overall.
This breaks down to an average of 26.97 pigs in the indoor herd and 23.95 pigs in the outdoor herd.
Although below the national average, Great Britain’s outdoor herds showed the greatest improvement in performance, up 5% compared with 2016.
While Great Britain has a significant proportion of pigs kept outdoors, the lower numbers of pigs weaned per sow per year in all systems is still a major cause of the relatively high cost of production compared with many other EU countries, especially, for example, Denmark, which had an average of 33.3 pigs weaned per sow per year in 2017; this is an area that needs to be addressed, for Great Britain to be competitive with the rest of Europe.
'Weaned per sow per year'
The latest of the annual Pig Cost of Production in Selected Countries reports provides producers with information about the country’s technical performance, and enables them to compare their performance with their competitors.
New to the 2017 report is data from Hungary, which has been included for the first time.
AHDB Pork’s Senior Analyst Carol Davis said: “While our improvements have been driven by a combination of increased number of finished pigs at increasing carcase weights, the greatest challenge for our pig industry is maximising the number of pigs weaned per sow per year, whatever the system.
“We have a challenge competing like for like with some of our global competitors, therefore we need to look for more novel innovations to lower our cost of production.
“This may be using lower value land for outdoor production, or adopting modern technology to target attention on and selection of individual pigs.”