31 July 1998

Keep pig costs down to stay afloat

MAKE concerted attempts to improve pig performance and cut feed costs to help survive low prices.

Efficient producers stand to lose least while prices are at rock-bottom, says Harper Adams college pig specialist Alan Stewart. "Know your business. Ensure feed conversion ratios are maintained and herd health status remains high."

He suggests that feed costs could bear close scrutiny. "Are your feeds achieving what they are supposed to be doing? Weigh pigs to check performance. Are you feeding an appropriate ration? Could pigs be taken off an expensive weaner ration earlier without losing performance?"

Shop around for feed price quotes, and renegotiate prices where possible. "Are you making the most of cheap cereal prices?" Check grading results to help ensure as many pigs as possible fall into the required spec, says Mr Stewart.

"With some buyers changing their contracts it may be that you should consider other processors who offer a more appropriate spec for your herd – but this can be difficult where outlets are limited."

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