Latest figures show very mixed pig feeding herd performance

Average daily weight gain at the finishing stage was the highest on record in the year to September 2020, but for the rearing herd, was the lowest on record, according to the latest figures from Agrosoft.

Overall, the figures show a very mixed performance for the GB feeding herd over the period.

For the rearing herd, roughly 7-35kg, the feed conversion ratio (FCR) averaged 1.74 for the 12-months to September 2020, the same as in the 12-months to September 2019, but 0.04 lower than in the 12-months to June 2020. So, in the Q3 period alone, it seems the FCR was a little better than the year before, AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins said.

Daily weight gain, at 445g/day, was well down on previous quarters and the lowest average on record (going back to 2009). The Agrosoft data indicates that pigs spent more days in the rearing unit, but that the amount of weaner/rearer feed used per pig did not increase at the same pace. This would explain the fall in daily weight gain while FCR was maintained.

For the finishing herd, the FCR worsened. At 2.79, it was 0.11 higher than the 2.68 recorded for the 12 months to September 2019. This was also 0.03 higher than the 12 months to June 2020. Rising finished weights perhaps influenced this trend, Ms Wilkins suggested.

But, in contrast to the rearing herd, the average daily weight gain at the finishing stage was the highest on record, at 867g.

“This was achieved by an increase in finishing feed consumption per pig, as the FCR had worsened and the number of days in the finishing unit remained similar,” Ms Wilkins said.

A full range of performance indicators for rearing and finishing herds can be found on the AHDB website HEREAs well as providing average figures, the figures obtained by farms achieving the top third and top 10% of FCR levels are shown.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.