Make an extra £1 per pig
A healthy pig can earn producers £1 more than a disease-challenged one because it can use the same feed more effectively.
Nutritionist Paul Toplis explained that health is the overriding factor affecting growth rate, during the BPEX 2TS Focus on Health conferences.
He said: “Even if there are no observable signs of disease, performance is being depressed on all commercial farms and the full nutritional value of the feed is not being realised. So producers should spare no effort in improving and protecting pig health.
“When there is an underlying health problem, there is still a lot producers can do to limit the impact on growth. Feed intake is the key priority and producers need to minimise the number of additional stressors to make sure feed intake is as high as possible. The biggest rewards come from ensuring pigs have free access to the correct diet at all times.”
Important areas for producers to focus on include:
• Adequate access to feed and water for all pigs
• Stocking density
• Environment and lighting
• Feed specification
• Feeder settings
• Monitoring feed intake and checking if it ties in with growth and grading
• Pellet quality and feeder cleaning routines
• Wet feed volume, frequency and fermentation