Feeding herd performance improving
According to the latest Agrosoft figures, performance in the feeding herd has improved over the past year.
The feed conversion ratio (FCR) at the rearing stage averaged 1.74 in the 12 months ended June 2019, down from 1.79 in the previous 12 months. Performance was somewhat volatile across the period though. Looking at the most recent data, for Q2, performance was actually worse than at the same point last year. However, this may reflect the fact that pigs were transferred to the finishing unit later, and the FCR tends to increase with age/weight.
Although rearing pigs have generally been converting feed more efficiently, this has not transferred into higher daily weight gains. Across the past 12 months, average rearing daily weight gain was down from 475g to 462g/day. High feed prices have perhaps led producers to be cautious about usage. However, with feed prices now easing, this tendency may now diminish.
Over the past 12 months, there was also modest improvement in the finishing herd, where the FCR fell from 2.67 to 2.65. In contrast to the rearing stage, this improvement entirely represents a better second quarter period this year.
Daily weight gain at the finishing stage has also been higher, averaging 835g/day, 21g more than in the previous 12 months. Finishing feed consumption has been higher this year, perhaps because the extreme heat early last summer negatively affected pig appetites.
The improvements in finishing herd performance are particularly welcome, given that pigs are now being finished at heavier weights. This might have been expected to worsen the performance of the finishing herd.
Taken together, the improvement in feeding herd performance over the past 12 months has lowered pig production costs by about 1p/kg, compared to if there had been no improvement.
More detailed figures around these and other physical performance figures are available on the AHDB Pork website.