Feed costs have again spiked due to global weather patterns and pig producers are facing large losses as the price they are paid is well below the cost of production, writes Angela Cliff.
Latest figures show it costs 170p per kg to raise a pig, but at present producers are being paid just 150p per kg – an unsustainable position.
These figures do not take full account of most recent rises in feed prices and the cost of production is set to rise even further in the coming weeks.
Global weather conditions have been the major driver of the price rises, which have affected the other main component of pig feed – soya.
Based on the July estimate, this means that producers are losing an average of 20p per kg, which works out at equivalent to a loss of about £16 per pig.
BPEX has created a special feed crisis centre at www.bpex.org.uk with information and advice for pig producers including latest price information, cost calculators practical advice on maintaining efficiency and reducing feed waste on the farm.
It’s important producers are not tempted to scrimp on feed quantity or quality. They should speak to their nutritionist to ensure they are using optimal diet specifications and feeding strategies.
They can also consider bulk buying feed to reduce load costs or look at feeding co-products, although they must first discuss whether this is a suitable option with their nutritionist.
Simple things to do on a day-to-day basis are make sure feed is not being wasted are to check that hoppers and feeders are set correctly to reduce feed loss through slatted floors.
Producers should also check feed storage so that bags are not being left where rodents can get at them. Keeping feed bins clean also helps to avoid feed becoming mouldy and unusable.
It’s also likely to be false economy to stop buying in gilts – producers need to keep the sow culling rate up to maintain an efficient herd. Nor should they cut back on vaccination programmes to save cost.
- Angela Cliff is BPEX knowledge transfer manager for central England