Pig producers can continue to expect large improvements in efficiency from advances in genetics, Yorkshire-based pig-breeding company ACMC, will be telling pig producers at this year's British Pig & Poultry Fair (Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 May).
“Since the last Pig Fair, two years ago, the on-farm value of our genetic improvements has amounted to £6.17 per pig, or about 8p per kg, based on an average deadweight figure of 80 kg,” said Ed Sutcliffe, the company's technical director. This value comes from a combination of factors including improved numbers born alive, growth rate and feed conversion efficiency. It would be worth £148.08 per sow for producers selling 24 pigs per sow annually or over £74,000 for a 500-sow herd performing at this level.
The value in numbers born alive alone amounted to £19.73, while quicker growth rate — which enabled pigs to be taken to a high weight in the same period of time — was worth £2.18 per pig. The improvement in feed conversion efficiency was worth £2.35 over the last two years.
Far from reaching a genetic plateau, improvements in these vitally-important economic traits, will be maintained, says Ed Sutcliffe, the company's technical director.
To help sustain this rate of improvement, ACMC is investing over £100,000 in increasing from 40 to 50 the number of sophisticated FIRE (Feed Intake Recording Equipment) stations for individual performance testing breeding animals at nucleus level.
Unlike many other companies, ACMC tests both boars and dam-lines and the new equipment will allow up to 6,000 animals to be individually tested annually — around 4,000 boars and 1,800 gilts.
BPEX is mounting a campaign to encourage British pig producers to improve productivity to achieve an output of two tonnes of pigmeat per sow a year. The genetic improvement seen by ACMC is the equivalent of £151.52 for each sow showing this level of productivity. BPEX figures show GB average output is 1,608 kg per sow per year compared with an EU average of 2000kg.