Reduced sow feed figures hint at falling herd

The production of compound feeds for breeding pigs fell by 5%, year on year, in the first quarter of this year, a fact which “may be an indication” that the current financial position facing producers is starting to have an effect on sow numbers, says AHDB Pork.

This was the second consecutive quarter with falling sow feed output and stands in contrast with a 1% increase in the first quarter production of compound pig feed overall, according to the latest figures from Defra.

The new figures also show the price of pig feed having fallen to its lowest level in nearly six years, with a Q1 rate of £209 a tonne.

“This is 12% lower than a year ago and suggests that pig production costs may have fallen further in early 2016, helping to partly mitigate the fall in pig prices,” said AHDB Pork.

The Defra figures also reveal a “dramatic” increase in the use of pulses in pig feed during the past year.

“Although quantities (of pulses used) are still relatively small, more than four times more were used than a year earlier,” noted AHDB Pork, adding that pulses haven’t been used on this scale in feed production in well over a decade.

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