The latest performance data from Agrosoft shows a mixed performance in the feeding herd over the 12 months to December 2019.
The rearing herd recorded a considerable uplift in growth rate. AHDB analyst Felicity Rusk says this is more likely as a result of higher feed inputs rather than gains in efficiency.
In contrast, finishing pigs utilised feed more efficiently. However, a reduction in feed consumption did not translate into more rapid weight gain.
Pigs at the rearing stage gained marginally more weight per day in the 12 months ending December 2019 compared to the previous year.
The daily live weight gain for this period averaged 14g per day more when compared to the previous year coming in at 484g. As a result, pigs spent on average two fewer days at the rearing unit and were on average 300g heavier at the point of transfer.
Rusk says that the improvement in growth rates is also a reflection of higher feed usage, as across the rearing stage, feed consumption averaged 53.9kg/head in the 12 months to December 2019, equating to an additional 8% (3.9kg) for the same period the previous year.
Although feed usage was up on the year, rearing pigs were converting this feed less efficiently, as in the 12 months to December 2019, the feed conversion ratio (FCR) averaged 1.83, 0.13 more than the previous year, meaning an additional 130g of feed was required for every 1kg of weight gained.
Feed usage at the finishing stage recorded a decline. In the 12 months ending December 2019, feed consumption during the finishing staged totalled 197.7kg/head, 6.7kg (-3%) less than during the same period in the previous year.
However, pigs at the finishing stage were more efficient in the 12 months ending December 2019, compared to the previous year, as the FCR averaged 2.68, 0.11 lower than the same across the same period in the previous year, meaning 110g less feed was required for each 1kg of weight put on by a pig. This improvement in feed efficiency equated to a 2.4p saving in the variable costs
while pigs at the finishing stage were more efficient, this did not translate into higher weight gain. the daily live weight gain averaged at 860g in the 12 months ending December 2019, 6g per day less than the year before.
The slightly slower growth along with finishing pigs to a heavier weight meant pigs were in the finishing unit for an additional day on average compared to the previous year. Combined, these added around 0.7p to the variable costs compared to last year.