Mixed performance for GB breeding herd during 2019

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

By Felicity Rusk

The latest Agrosoft physical performance data shows that GB breeding productivity improved year-on-year in the 12-months ending December 2019. However, this was driven by better performance early in 2019. When looking at Q4 alone, herd performance was actually no better than in Q4 2018.

Overall annual performance

In the 12-months ending December 2019, the average number of pigs weaned per sow per year stood at 26.11. Compared to the previous year, this roughly translates into four more piglets for every nine sows.

The overall annual improvement has been considerably more marked in outdoor systems. In the 12-months to December, the number of pigs weaned per sow per year averaged 24.12. Compared to the previous year, this equated to an extra nine piglets per ten sows. The improvement is primarily down to an increase in litters per sow per year and to a lesser extent, an increase in the number of piglets born alive.

Improvements in indoor sow productivity were considerably more muted. In the 12-months to December 2019, 27.45 pigs were weaned per sow per year. This translates to one additional piglet per ten sows. While more pigs were born per litter, a reduction in the number of litters and higher pre-weaning mortality eroded away these gains.

There was also a slight reduction in losses at the rearing stage, enabling improvements in pigs weaned to be translated into pigs sold. In the year ending December, on average 24.29 pigs were sold per sow. Compared to the 12 months to December 2018, this translated to just under one more pig per two sows.

Performance in Q4 alone

The number of pigs weaned per sow per year fell by 0.03 when the 12-months to December is compared with the 12-months to September 2019. This indicates that during Q4 alone, breeding herd performance was actually similar to Q4 2018.

The different systems show diverging trends when looking at Q4 performance alone. Outdoor sow performance was 0.16 higher in the 12 months to December, versus the 12 months to September, indicating a better herd performance in Q4 this year. Meanwhile, indoor sow performance actually recorded a decline of 0.18, mainly due to a reduction in litters per sow per year

Anecdotal reports did suggest some stagnation in herd performance in the latter part of last year. Despite this, pig throughputs have remained elevatedwhich supports the view that the breeding herd has expanded.

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