GB pigs less efficient

PIG PRODUCTION costs in the UK are still amongst the highest in Europe, with the average cost of producing 1kg of pigmeat over 100p, according to the Meat and Livestock Commission.

Feed accounts for 56% of this figure, with labour calculated at 30% and other variable costs averaging 14%, leaving a slim margin for producers with prices at their current levels.

The latest GB Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price (DAPP) for pig traded the week commencing May 23 is 106p/kg, compared with 109.8p this time last year.

In 2003, Britain’s cost of production soared to 110p, according to MLC statistics, but the benefit of cheaper feed prices this year should help ease these costs.

British producers are also losing out on lighter carcass weights. In Holland the average carcass weight is now almost 90kg, compared with a UK average of 76kg.

So, the same per sow deadweight equivalent can be achieved by selling only 16.6 pigs in the Netherlands, as against 20 pigs in the UK.

Heavy pig production in the UK has been hampered by concerns over “boar taint”, which is not the case throughout much of the EU where most male pigs are castrated.

Although many pig producers may be reluctant to return to castration, this is what happens to almost all male calves and lambs destined for meat production in this country.