12 April 1996

Restocking is best policy with sows

DEPOPULATING and restocking could improve annual margins by over £115,000 on a 300-sow unit.

So said PICs UK production specialist John Goss, speaking to vets at the companys annual veterinary conference, Coventry, Warks. Mr Goss said conversions to comply with stalls and tethers offered scope to improve the health status of herds at a time when big decisions on new buildings, conversions and pig flow were being taken.

He calculated that restocking produced an extra four pigs a sow a year, worth £45,600 on a 300-sow unit. "Increases in growth rates of 200g a day were worth £12,000 and improved feed conversions accounted saved an extra £20,500 in saved feed. Reductions in mortality and lower drug costs contribute a further £37,000," he said.

"The benefits far outweigh the costs, which include the difference between cull sow and new gilt price at £15,000, loss of profits £21,000 and labour £22,500.

"This totals £58,500 and represents a one-off cost whereas improvements in productivity are ongoing," he said.