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BPEX: British pig production costs still too high

Latest figures from BPEX show that pig production in the UK is still too high, although the fall in the value of Sterling and a new initiative to combat PWMS should go some considerable way to redressing the problem.

BPEX has just published its Pig Cost of Production report for 2007, which was prepared mostly before the vaccination campaign began, and it shows that of many countries in the world, Britain came second only to Parma ham producers in Italy in terms of cost of production.

The survey covers not only Europe but also Brazil, Canada and shows that in 2007 overall production costs in the UK rose by 12% mostly due to higher feed costs. This was also the average increase across Europe. But by December, the figure had reached 139.6 pence per kilo, 18p higher than the annual average.

Key points include:
*  Post-weaning mortality in Great Britain continued to decline in 2007, down from 8.0% 7.0% , and is now much closer to the EU average
*Mortality fell in both the rearing and finishing herds
*  The decline in post-weaning mortality gave a further boost to the numbers of pigs finished/sow in Great Britain - up from 19.7 to 20.1, the third consecutive year there had been an improvement
*  Average daily liveweight gain for finishing herds increased by 28g to 683g in 2007 - the fourth consecutive annual increase
*  A sharp fall in pre-weaning mortality meant that pigs weaned rose slightly to 21.61 – 7% below the EU average of 23.26, the same differential as in 2006
*  A decline in the sterling/Euro exchange rate - in September 2008, the Euro was worth 80p compared with 69p a year earlier, a 14% change  leading to an improvement in relative competitiveness of Great Britain pig production.

“It is encouraging that underlying physical performance is still improving but we do have a long way to go,” said BPEX chief executive Mick Sloyan. “The report refers to 2007 but since then we have seen a substantial shift in the exchange rate between Sterling and € which will have wiped out almost all of the cost disadvantage we are suffering.”

The report does take a look at the start of 2008 as well and points out a positive factor has been the distribution of the PCV2 vaccine, assisted by BPEX, to English pig producers. This vaccine is used to control PMWS and should therefore lead to reduced post-weaning mortality and an increase in pigs finished/sow.

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Editor PigProgress

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