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Jenny Waddington

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AHDB Pork Levy Payer Communications

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Devil is in the detail for pig herd gains

Home \ News \ News Releases \ 2016 \ March \ Devil is in the detail for pig herd gains

Focus on producing more litters per sow and improving uniformity in finisher pigs when they go for sale, producers are advised.

These were two key points discussed by producers at the latest meeting on ‘getting through tough times’ in Diss, Norfolk, said AHDB Pork knowledge transfer manager, Andrew Palmer.

“Once you examine the detail and calculate what is actually happening throughout the herd, you can see where the greatest cost savings and efficiencies can be gained,” Andrew said. “Our speakers Stephen Hall, Richard Bull and Simon Watchorn demonstrated this during the meeting, looking at performance figures and using ‘what if’ cost calculators.

“The average number of litters per sow per year (the farrowing index), for UK herds is around 2.25 but herds can achieve between 2.4 to 2.5, by tightening up on monitoring and management of returns and minimising empty days. The ultimate result is a higher total of piglets weaned across the herd.

“While, at the final stage of finishing, it’s essential to minimise the variation among pigs being sent for sale. Reducing deviation around the contract’s optimum sale weight and specification from 10% to just 4% makes a significant difference to the amount producers are paid.”

There are three more AHDB Pork regional meetings for pig producers, focused on practical ways to manage input costs, with leading industry speakers and producers:

  • 22 March – Exeter, Devon – Jonathan French, Richard Bull and Tim Blanchard
  • 23 March – Hodnet, Shropshire –Nick White, Richard Bull 
  • 7 April – Walshford, Yorkshire – Nick White, Richard Bull 

For full details and to register, go to: pork.ahdb.org.uk/pig-production/getting-through-tough-times/

The industry is facing tough times and rock bottom prices, and the meetings aim to help all producers re-evaluate their units and get ideas on simple changes that could strengthen their businesses through the coming months.