A recent trial conducted by scientists at JSR Genetics has revealed that it is possible to take pigs to heavier weights and have a positive impact on profit margins.
The research, which was initiated by JSR and Yorkshire Farmers Livestock Marketing, was intended to help customers improve efficiency on their 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 explains: “We wanted to prove that taking pigs to higher weights is cost-effective and profitable for pig production businesses even when feed costs are high.”
“The animals were from our own Geneconverter 600 sire line onto our Genepacker 90 gilt and were fed a standard final stage finisher ration. While half of the animals were slaughtered at 104kg live weight, the remaining pigs were left on site for a further three weeks.
“These animals achieved an average 120kg live weight, 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 show that despite the long-standing opinion 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.
Stephen 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 demonstrate 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.”