9 August 2002

Pig performance far too variable

PIG producers using marketing groups benefit from the ability of such groups to find outlets for pigs of all specifications, says Tony Suckling, pig marketing director of Porcofram Marketing.

But a study of pig marketing groups by Mr Suckling found a huge range in pig performance leading to massive losses for producers. "While the best producers average more than 1p/kg less than their contract optimum, the worst are more than 7p/kg below what is achievable."

At the mean figure of 3p/kg less than optimum, a producer selling 200 pigs/week will be £23,400/year below the optimum, explains Mr Suckling.

Another factor affecting the high variability currently being seen by pig producers is disease.

Due to PMWS, many producers are not regrouping pigs after weaning and are finding variability more of a problem, according to Steve Meakin of Elanco Animal Health.

He believes controlling other diseases, such as ileitis, can reduce this variability. &#42