English pig producers have a challenging new target, to achieve an industry average of 2,000kg of pig meat per sow per year by 2012.
The Two Tonne Sow (2TS) project was launched by BPEX at the British Pig and Poultry Fair and provides a single target for the industry to work towards collectively.
Speaking at the launch, BPEX Knowledge Transfer Research and Development Manager Mike Varley (pictured) highlighted that, although physical performance continues to improve, there remains a significant productivity gap between the English pig industry and its major European competitors. Latest available figures show the average carcase weight per sow per year for Great Britain is 1,608kg compared with the EU average of 2,000kg.
Closing this performance gap is crucial to ensure the long term competitiveness of the English pig sector. Producers need to ensure they are in strong position to sustain profitability during periods when the market place and exchange rates are less favourable.
Dr Varley said: “The pig industry is currently making money and we want to improve profitability further through technical advancement. We should not rest on our laurels. Raising sow productivity will also help to reduce the environmental impact of pig production for every kilogram of meat produced.
“Different businesses will take different routes towards improved performance and a number of factors will be important including litter size, farrowing index, carcase weight and reducing mortality. I am positive the English pig industry can achieve the 2TS target. We have the technology and we have the people to apply that technology.”
Producers, allied industry and BPEX all have a part to play. The BPEX Knowledge Transfer team will work closely with producers, providing information, advice and support on six main areas: breeding, finishing, health, nutrition, buildings and training.
BPEX has developed a sow productivity calculator for producers to work out where their output of pig meat per sow per year currently stands. The figures will help thembenchmark their business against the English industry average and other businesses and pinpoint which areas of performance to prioritise to achieve the 2,000kg annual target.
Producers can access the calculator at www.2TS.org.uk or ask their Regional Knowledge Transfer Manager.