National pig herd shows potential

FIGURES FROM the Pig Yearbook, produced by Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) economics for the British Pig Executive (BPEX) show encouraging improvements in physical performance of the UK pig herd.

The main factors are an increase in pigs weaned per-sow, per-year, a fall in grower mortality and slightly lower finisher mortality. When combined with an increase in carcase weight to an average of 75.1kg, this is delivering an extra 87kg of pig meat sold per-sow, per-year.

At the same time the growth and efficiency of the grower herd has improved significantly with growth rising 50g to 509g/day and Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) also improving. In the finishing herd there are small improvements.

BPEX director of pig industry development, Mark Wilson, said: "This is a very valuable document for giving an overview of the British pig industry. We know the data is only a subset of the UK industry, but discussions with producers during Pig Fair clearly indicated the general improvements to be a national trend. The forecast for 2006 from data to the end of April indicates a continuing rise in performance by a further pig weaned per-sow, per-year. Overall, this is expected to deliver 1475 kg of pig meat per-sow, per-year - very encouraging."

He added there were a series of seminars being held to combat the effects of seasonal drops in both breeding and finishing performance during June. "A second series has been organised to look at energy efficiency - in some cases energy costs have doubled in the last year and steps need to be taken."

Details of both sets of workshops can be found on the BPEX website, www.bpex.org.uk and copies of the Pig Yearbook, priced at £18 are available by contacting Jayne Dines on 01908 844389 or jayne_dines@mlc.org.uk.