Practical advice on managing pig businesses in the downturn is on offer at a series of regional AHDB Pork meetings.
Run during March, these will show the scope for making changes to areas such as gilt and sow management, feed or energy use and slaughter weights.
These would allow producers to work through “what-if” calculations to help decide how to influence the cost of production, said AHDB lead knowledge transfer manager Steve Winfield.
Free regional AHDB pig meetings – where and when
- Midlands: Thursday 3 March – The Crossroads Hotel, Weedon, Daventry – 6.30pm
- East: Tuesday 15 March – Diss RUFC, Bellrope Lane, Roydon, Diss – 6pm
- South West: 22 March – Gipsy Hill Hotel, Exeter – 6.30pm
- Shropshire: 23 March – The Bear Hotel, Drayton Road, Hodnet – 6.30pm
A further date will be added for pig producers in the north of England. Full details on the AHDB website.
The meetings follow a recent AHDB Pork webinar with Ciaran Carroll, head of pig development at Ireland’s Teagasc Moorepark research and advice centre.
Too many producers still had no real understanding of their true production costs, said Mr Carroll. It was essential they should keep accurate records and analysis to benchmark themselves against the average and top 10 and 25% of producers.
With feed costs accounting for up to 70% of production costs, this should be a particular focus and they should also look closely at feed conversion efficiency.
Commenting on feeding strategies for finishers, he said it was imperative producers adjusted feeders regularly, repairing and replacing when necessary, and had the right number of feeders for their stocking rate. “A 4% reduction in feed wasted can save £1.55 a pig.”
Producers should also look at possibly increasing slaughter weights from 95-105kg, bearing in mind the current feed costs, which could increase profits.
Producers could save money by using a standard creep diet rather than a high-spec one and could consider feeding a link diet instead.