A strict culling policy, involving the removal of non-productive sows, has been highlighted as a crucial part of “coping with low prices” by Teagasc’s pig development head, Ciarán Carroll.
Speaking during AHDB Pork’s webinar on Monday this week he said that ten extra empty days per litter costs £27,000 a year for a 500-sow herd, with one empty day costing £2.30.
“Producers need to continually monitor sow performance and make sure they cull underperformers immediately,” said Mr Carroll (pictured above), adding that they should most certainly not opt for trying to restore condition.
He also had plenty to say on the need to keep feeders in good repair, adjusting them regularly so that the trough is not full of stale feed.
Given that one feeder could easily have 12 tonnes of food passing through it in a year, he emphasised the financial impact of keeping wastage to a minimum.
“A 4% reduction in finisher feed wasted is worth £1.55 per pig, which adds up to £19,000 for a 500-sow herd,” he said.
Other key points raised by the Irish farm research leader included examining slaughter weights, farm energy use and loan or overdraft options, attention to which could help producers weather the current financial “storm”.