Pig producers urged to improve efficiency

English pig producers have been urged to focus on the parts of their businesses which they can control, rather than national feed costs or pig prices.

John Richardson of Production Performance Services Ltd told delegates at the Bpex Breed+3 producer event that it was important for pig producers to take control of issues within their businesses, such as the number of pigs reared and sold per sow per year.

He added: “Feed price and pig prices are outside producers’ control and that’s the case across Europe. Lower production costs per pig produced are the reason why our European competitors can hold their breath that bit longer and survive with lower prices.

“During the last quarter of 2013, it required 18 pigs reared per sow per year to recover the fixed costs of keeping each sow. Once the break-even point is reached, every additional weaned pig produced is clear profit. To reduce production costs, physical performance needs to improve, in order to get as much return as possible on the investment made in every sow.

“Recording key information and then analysing the results to see what the numbers are actually telling you is an essential part of management required to improve physical performance.”

According to recent data and analysis, on average, sows in a pig herd have 27 non-productive days each year. The data has suggested there are losses occurring in herds that could be reduced. “It hardly seems right that a sow should have more days’ ‘holiday’ than the unit staff, especially at a potential cost of £2.33 per sow per day. This is the type of information you need to know and act upon,” Richardson said.

“Producers must make recording, target-setting and evaluating data part of their routine and then share this information with all staff, as they are the ones who can make a difference to performance. Record-keeping and analysis can be kept very simple, but it must be focused on the factors that influence profit.”