Process Management

News 174 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Website helps farmers save expensive feed

Yorkshire-based pig-breeding company, ACMC, has set up a web link offering a practical way of making significant feed savings.

British pig farmers are facing sharp increases in feed costs — in addition to pressure on pig prices caused by foot-and-mouth disease restrictions.

The website can calculate the feed costs per kg of pigmeat produced and demonstrates what feed savings could be made on their own farms according to herd size and existing feed efficiency.
For instance, the feeding of finishing progeny from an already-efficient 500-sow herd selling 22 pigs per sow a year at 95 kg liveweight with a feed conversion of 2.6 and an average feed cost of £170 per tonne would use £432,718 worth of feed annually. Feed cost per kg liveweight gain would be £0.442, while the feed cost for each pig from weaning to slaughter would amount to £39.34.

Ultra-efficient animals
To lower feed costs, ACMC has introduced new boars to their Vantage range of sires — the Vantage Plus — selected from the very top of the breeding pyramid. To ensure that the most efficient animals can be accurately identified, the individual feed intake of all boars is measured during performance testing — along with live body scanning. ACMC believes that the use of these ultra-efficient terminal sire-line boars — which are also available through AI — can improve a herd's feed conversion by a minimum of 0.2. This would reduce the feed cost by £3.03 per pig, giving a total finishing herd saving in their example of £33,286.

The company has calculated that, nationally, an improvement of just 0.1 in feed conversion would save 267,000 tonnes of feed, worth £40 million. "With feed prices predicted to rise by 25-30% - perhaps to £170 per tonne – the major concern to pig farmers is the inevitable increase in working capital. A £35 per tonne price rise requires an extra return of 15p per kg or £10.50 per pig at 70 kg deadweight. So farmers would need to receive 125p per kg just to break even!" commented ACMC chairman, Stephen Curtis.

"This level has been seen before in the mid-90s, but it is clear that all sectors of the industry will need to help producers through their liquidity problems until the end price covers the extra feed cost."

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