Future meat production discussed at JSR Technical Conference.

Meeting future global demand for meat, nutrition and slurry use were among the topics up for discussion at the 22nd annual JSR Technical Conference in Nottingham last week, reports Gemma Mackenzie.

Global pork production will need to increase by 110% to meet demand in line with population growth, said JSR Genetics managing director Grant Walling.

Referring to the Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures Report, which predicts a 29% rise in the global population by 2050, he said countries such as China, Brazil and Russia offered the potential to up production and meet a rise in global demand for meat, which is estimated to increase by 62.5%.

“Increasing output from the current advanced system in the UK is probably unfeasible, but there is huge potential for higher output from other undeveloped countries which could help meet this demand,” he added.

Looking ahead to the future of the UK pig industry, he said traditional key performance indicators (KPIs) needed to change.

“Going forward, we have to be clearer about KPIs and start looking at lifetime profitability, kg pigmeat/m2 and kg pigmeat/kWh of fossil fuel.”

In addition, he said indoor producers needed to look more at measuring productive efficiency, and suggested a shake-up of welfare measurements.

“I don’t think systems dictate welfare. The welfare measurements have to be assessed by pig and not by farm, as welfare standards are sometimes variable within a unit,” added Dr Walling.

“Often marketing for outdoor, free-range and organic systems is story-based. And there is no science to suggest they are more sustainable and have better eating quality, so I would propose changing the unique selling points to sustainability and efficiency.”

Pig slurry and fertiliser values

Pig producers should take advantage of the nutrient value of their slurry, which could be worth up to £140/ha, said JSR Farms arable technical director, Philip Huxtable.

He described pig units as “fertiliser factories” which offered the opportunity to save vast amounts of money spent on bought-in fertiliser products.

“When I started looking at the organic manures within JSR, we were talking about the manure from 3,500 sows plus their progeny (35,000 pigs),” said Mr Huxtable. “I have valued straw muck at £132.29/ha for the 2011 crop and the liquid stuff will be worth £142.35/ha.

“That’s a heck of a saving in purchased fertiliser, and because lately we have seen the cost of nitrogen double from where it was last year, anything we can do to offset that is good.”

For those looking to take advantage of their pig slurry, he recommended getting it analysed because the nutrient content will vary from farm to farm.

The nutritional challenge

The volatility of feed prices will continue to impact on producers, warned pig nutritionist Mike Hazzledine from Premier Nutrition.

Speaking to conference delegates about the challenge of feeding pigs in a changing market place, he said producers should make more use of rapeseed in a bid to reduce reliance on soya.

“The plant breeders have done a great job in adjusting rapeseed so it’s a valuable commodity for pig producers. It reduces the reliance on soya, which really is nowhere near as consistent as people think it is,” he added.

Commenting on the emergence of more DDGS (Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles) to the market next year, he said pig producers faced the prospect of being out-priced by cattle producers for feedstuffs.

He added: “It’s very important we put amino acids into diets, because it’s nonsense when you have high commodity prices to try and trim things like amino acid balance. And those that are buying should always run a forward costing.”

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