Sow productivity moving up
Latest figures from Agrosoft indicate the productivity of GB sow herds increased in the 12 months ending March 2017, having been relatively stable during the latter half of 2016.
Outdoor sows posted the greatest improvements. An increase in the number of piglets born alive per litter, coupled to declining pre-weaning mortality, meant the average number of pigs weaned per sow per year reached 23.2. However, the top 10% of outdoor producers have not seen the same upward trend. At 26.52 pigs weaned per sow per year, this figure was actually marginally lower than for the 12 months ending March 2016.
For indoor sows improvements were more modest, with an increase in the number of pigs born alive per litter being partly countered by rising pre-weaning mortality. The average number of pigs weaned per sow per year reached 26.5, with the top 10% achieving 30.8.
Despite these developments, the improvements to sow productivity still don’t bring GB producers in line with EU competitors. For 2015, the EU average for pigs weaned per sow per year was 26.81. The average for Denmark during this period, the primary supplier of imported pig meat to the UK, was 31. Britain continues to be limited by the number of pigs born alive per litter, which remains below the EU 2015 average of 13.5.
Conversely, for the feeding herd performance indicators were less positive. For rearing pigs, Daily Live Weight Gain (DLWG) noticeably fell compared to the 12 months ending December 2016, although the Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) showed little change. However, this has likely been influenced by pigs being transferred to the finishing unit at higher weights. Finishing pigs also recorded a modest decline in DLWG, compared to 2016, with the FCR increasing somewhat. The trend towards increasing finished weights is likely limiting progress in this area. Nonetheless, the performance of British producers after weaning continues to compare favourably with the 2015 EU averages.
For more detail on these and other performance indicators click here.
Bethan Wilkins, Analyst
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