The pig production arm of the JSR Farming Group, a 4,000-sow operation producing 2,000 pigs/week, has increased the deadweight of its slaughter pigs and cut its overall cost of production by 2.5% by switching to two new sire lines developed by JSR Genetics.
Against a backdrop of rapidly rising feed prices (up by 40% in the past three years), the chief operating officer at JSR, James Christian, and his team looked very closely at the performance of their four breeding sites and 12 finishing units. Their aim was on to find new ways to maximise output and minimise cost.
Faster growing pigs that could be taken to heavier weights within the the same production time frame was one way of acheiving this, but it would need to done efficiently, with no negative impact on feed conversion ratios. The resulting quality, measured against a comprehensive set of metrics including back fat ratios, would also have to be equal or better than that currently being achieved. Last but not least, the new pigs would also need to be sufficiently robust to thrive in any one of JSR’s production units, which are located in areas of varying disease challenge.
“We discussed our ideas with JSR Genetics and challenged them to develop new sire lines for our business that could produce rapidly growing, high-quality, robust pigs without compromising feed efficiency, quality or resilience,” Mr Christain said. “It was quite a challenge, but they didn’t let us down. Trials of the resulting new lines, the Geneconverter 800m and 400, produced such immediate, positive results that the decision to switch all of our production over to the new lines was easy.”
About 12 months ago, JSR identified the importance of increasing the slaughter weights of their pigs, and during the past year has increased the carcase weight by 3kg. JSR now has contracts in place that will allow it to work towards a target slaughter weight in excess of 83kg. The pigs are also delivering good carcase yields while maintaining low back fat levels of an average of 10.2mm. This suggests, of course, that heavier weights can be achieved with these sire lines without compromising quality. The new pigs are also proving to be robust and easy to manage.
In terms of their growth they are, on average, gaining an additional 122g/day from 30kg to slaughter. However, they’re also making exceptional progress in the critical, early stages of their development, increasing JSR’s average weaning weight by an average of 0.75kg. This, together with enhanced natural resistance to a range of widespread diseases, including scour, is helping the business to achieve impressive low mortality and high average weaning rates. These are currently running at more than 11.5 pigs/litter, right across the business.
“We have made good progress in our efforts to take our pigs to heavier weights, without compromising quality or efficiency and we’ve reduced our overall cost of production by 2.5%,” Mr Christain said. “This is great news for our business and we will continue to increase slaughter weights up to 90kg.”
JSR Genetics director of science and technology, Dr Grant Walling, is also impressed with the results that the new sire lines are delivering.
“We’re always working to improve the genetics we offer to our customers and, as one of our largest clients, the production arm of our own business can be guaranteed to continue challenging us and helping us to deliver sire lines that the industry is looking for,” he said. “As we continue to work with our international partners and invest heavily in research and development, we believe that we have more, very exciting breakthroughs on the way.”
The European sales director at JSR Genetics, Giles Christie, agrees.
“The dialogue we have with JSR Farms is truly invaluable and drives us to continually improve the genetics we offer, increasing profitability for our own company, and that of our customers,” he said. “We’ve based the whole of the commercial side of the business on our own sire lines, which really shows how much we believe in our products, and we’re delighted that many external customers are already seeing dramatic benefits.”