I've been writing quite a bit recently on Sow Productive Life (SPL) and
that I am disturbed at pig farmers' apparent complacency about how short it is
these days – and what to do about extending it.
I've been writing quite a bit recently on Sow Productive Life (SPL) and that
I am disturbed at pig farmers' apparent complacency about how short it is these
days – and what to do about extending it.
This has caused quite a bit of
comment to judge from my postbag, but few correspondents seem to have fully
cottoned on to the financial penalty of too short a sow productive
For example, many producers are only achieving 3.4 litters per sow
lifetime when 5.5 litters are comfortably secured on some of the best farms I
visit. Indeed, just recently Hypor, the genetics firm, were saying that a 5.8
litter SPL is their own target, and from what they call 'weaning capacity' they
go on (Broadbent, 2008) to suggest a benchmark of 505 kg SPL based on 12 pigs
weaned/litter at 7.25 kg.
Use of capital
Table 1 looks
at on-farm figures from my own experience and goes on to express them further
and more meaningfully, as not only does a decent SPL improve on the use of
capital but it also eases the cash flow considerably.
Table 1. On-farm figures
regarding SPL, on the basis of 1,000 sows and 22 weaners
||SPL (kg weaner weight)
||New sow needed every…
||Replacement gilts needed per week|
Now I don't mind taking an SPL target
of 400 kg or even the 500 kg claimed by Hypor – what I do think is unacceptable
is one as low as the all-too-commonly seen 250 kg.
Quite apart from the
greater income from more weaners sold for the money invested, look at the damage
done to the cashflow by such a short SPL.Banking
For example –
it costs about €375 for each replacement gilt to produce her first
The farm with the higher SPL will have already banked nearly
€2,500 as income from the 20 or so more finished pigs sold/sow before they need
to find the next €375 needed to finance the cost of the replacement gilt and her
first litter to weaning.
Their cash flow is far easier. Lack of cash flow
punishes businesses, not necessarily lack of profits. Cash flow is the oil on
which the profit engine depends.
I've said this many times – "It is not
necessarily top performance which counts towards making a sustainable profit
from pigs – but the best use of capital resources."