Taking pigs to a higher weight can still mean profit, says study

Taking pigs to a higher weight can still mean profit, says study

Research by JSR Genetics and Yorkshire farmers argues that taking pigs to heavier weights and making a profit is possible, without having a negative effect on profit margins.

The research, which was conducted by scientists at JSR Genetics, had the aim of helping to improve efficiency on its own units and involved a group of 200 gilts and boars at one of the company’s commercial finishing units. The trial began in the third quarter of 2012 and lasted for three weeks.

JSR’s head of science Stephen Waite explained: “We wanted to prove that taking pigs to higher weights is cost-effective and can be profitable.

“The animals were from our own Geneconverter 600 sireline onto our Genepacker 90 gilt and they were fed a standard final stage finisher ration. While half of the animals were shed off at 104kg liveweight, the remaining pigs were left on site for a further three weeks.

“These animals achieved an average 120kg liveweight, which gave a gain of around 12.6kg deadweight from the slaughterhouse.”

Researchers recorded the weights of the first 100 pigs sent to slaughter, and from then recorded the feed used until the remaining animals went to slaughter, where their weights were also recorded.

The results revealed that, despite the long-standing myth that the feed conversion rate (FCR) at this stage would be over 4.1, the FCR stands at approximately 3.2, making the net margin per pig £4.80.

Waite continued: “We are always working to increase profitability for our customers by improving on the genetic traits that govern feed efficiency.

“The results were really very encouraging as they show us that taking these pigs to heavier weights doesn’t necessarily mean a dip in profits, and that the work we are doing to improve feed efficiency is giving us the gains we expected.”

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