Pig herd improvements observed

The physical performance of the British pig herd continues to improve, according to the latest Interpig report, published by Bpex.

The 2013 Pig Cost of Production Report showed the number of pigs weaned per sow per year rose by 4% in GB, 1% ahead of the European Interpig countries which had a 3% increase. However, although up on 2012, the number of pigs weaned per sow here was the lowest among the Interpig members, due to fewer pigs being born alive per litter.

Bpex said the average number of pigs finished per sow also increased in 2013, to 22.23 pigs per sow, with the average performance 0.54 pigs higher than the year before. The report commented: “This is indicative of further improvements in productivity.”

Bpex head of technical Andrew Knowles said: “These results are encouraging, but we have to keep the foot on the accelerator because there is still a gap with our major competitors and we need to close it.

“The latest information available shows the British industry is still going in the right direction and making progress. Part of the reason for this could be that the industry has been going through a period of profitability, which in turn has meant the industry has started investing again.”

The report added that, for most of the year, GB pig prices were on an upward trend, reaching unprecedented levels and peaking in the autumn at over 170p/kg. The strong prices were mainly attributable to an increased retailer commitment to shorter supply chains in the wake of the discovery of horsemeat in some beef products at the start of the year. This increased demand for British pork came at a time when supplies were relatively tight.

The Interpig report takes information from Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the USA.

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