The sow’s influence on total herd feed conversion

With feed representing the major cost of pig production – as much as 70% in some countries – the relationship between feed usage and productivity was highlighted at an international conference in Segovia, Spain recently.

While Spain had the third highest feed costs in a group of selected countries, quoting figures for feed costs per pig produced per year were meaningless due to the feed price variation, according to ACMC’s geneticist and technical director, Ed Sutcliffe.

“It’s better to compare feed consumed per kg of growth (FCR) for this purpose,” he told the gathering organised by Proyecse Planstar Porcino, a company providing planning and building services.

Mr Sutcliffe outlined the relationships between sow feed intake and productivity. In a herd selling 25 pigs per sow per year where sows’ annual feed intake averaged 1,125kg, the “feed overhead” per piglet would be 45kg. If the herd sold 28 pigs per sow a year, but sow feed intake increased to 1,350kg annually, then the “feed overhead” increased to 48.2kg.

However, if sow feed intake was kept at 1,125kg and the number of pigs sold was maintained at 28, the “feed overhead” reduced to just 40.2kg.

“This is equivalent to a 0.032 improvement in total herd FCR for a pig to 100kg,” Mr Sutcliffe said, “so what’s that worth per pig sold? Based on a growth period to 100kg, it would be the equivalent to 0.82 euros (0.65p) or 1.79 euros (142p) per pig, depending on whether less feed was consumed or more growth was achieved.

“This is worth 10,250 euros (£8,100) or 22,375 euros (£17,710) for a 500-sow unit.”

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