Britain’s top pig producers are easily a match for
our major European competitors according to the latest
figures from the British Pig Executive (BPEX).
And getting the rest of the industry to that level
is hardly rocket science says BPEX Director of Pig Industry
development Mark Wilson.
The latest report on key performance indicators show the
top third in the UK are seeing 26.6 pigs born per sow per
year while the national average is just 24.
Mark said: “The top third are also weaning at least
23 and that puts them in the same league as France and
the Netherlands – two of our major European competitors.
“The question must be why this group is doing so
well and what can be done to bring the rest up to the same
“These producers have not necessarily made huge
investments but they are listening, learning and then taking
“They are listening to their vet, their nutritionist,
they are members of the British Pig health Scheme, the
are actively seeking best practice and training their staff
to a high level. Those are the things that can bring dividends.
“The key areas where we are behind are litter size
and growth rate. Here again the top third are in contention
with the best in Europe.
“The guys at the top don’t have a magic formula
and their results are attainable by the rest of the industry.
“The gap can be bridged and it generally does not
require fundamental changes. “The BPEX Knowledge
Transfer team is there and can help. All it takes is a
phone call and they can start the ball rolling.”
Looking back over the key performance indicators, the
top third has shown a steady climb in pigs born/sow since
early 2004 while the national average has not risen by
anything like as much – the rate of improvement by
top third is four times the national average and in weaners
it is five times.
Mark said: “Looking at what can be achieved, it
is probably worth looking at some investment which has
been lacking in the industry over the last few years. “For
example liquid feeding can bring huge benefits in growth
and feed conversion ratio with a payback of as little as
Everything anybody needs to improve their competitive
position is out there for the asking and pig farmers should
start asking by contacting Knowledge Transfer Manager Lis
Ravn on 07891 656784, or through the BPEX website, www.bpex.org.uk.
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