3 November 1995

Raise weights to cut costs

THE British pig industry could cut production costs by 6p/kg deadweight by lifting slaughter weights, according to Colin Bald-win, Meat and Livestock Comm-issions pigmeat strategy manager.

"The cut in costs could be achieved by increasing slaughter weights from 67kg, the UK average, to 77kg liveweight," he said.

Though the UK is still just ahead on breeding efficiency, the Dutch, Danes and French produce about 250kg more pigmeat a sow a year due to their higher carcass weights. As a result their whole herd feed conversion efficiency is as good or better than the UK, which means they are aggressive competitors.

Previously the MLC has urged producers to be wary when considering increasing slaughter weights to avoid direct competition with the product of their Continental counterparts. "Though we must be mindful of the needs of the fresh meat retailer, consumption of processed pigmeat is growing and heavier carcasses are well suited to further processing," he said. &#42

Colin Baldwin says cost cutting can be achieved by lifting slaughter weights to 77kg liveweight.