Thursday, 25 June 2020
By Bethan Wilkins
Herd performance was challenged in late 2019 and early 2020, according to Agrosoft data, with both rearing and finishing mortality above year earlier levels. Anecdotal comments suggest higher disease levels may have influenced this.
However, despite this, some improvements were seen in feed conversion ratios (FCRs). At the rearing stage, the FCR fell to 1.72 in the 12 months to March 2020, having averaged 1.83 in the 12-months to December, indicating that the first quarter of this year was better than last. Daily liveweight gain also improved to 497g in the latest period, having been 484g in Jan-Dec 2019.
Although still lower than a year ago, reports indicate that feed costs did start to tick up at the start of the year. So, improved efficiency at this stage helped minimise rising costs, as less feed was required per pig.
The situation with the finishing herd was more mixed. The FCR dropped to 2.63 in the 12 months to March 2020, an improvement compared to 2.68 for the 12 months to December. However, the average daily liveweight gain at this stage fell to 809g, having averaged 860g from Jan-Dec 2019. Pigs have therefore taken longer to finish than early last year, also supported by the fact weights have been higher.
Nonetheless, the improvement in FCR does mean less finishing feed was used per pig early this year, compared to 2019. However, estimates suggest savings made from this on a per kg basis are more than offset by the longer finishing times, which mean fewer pigs can pass through the unit each year.
The Agrosoft figures for rearing/finishing herd performance are available on the AHDB Pork website.