The UK pig industry is far from uniform in its finishing accommodation, genetics and health. This results in a very wide range in feed conversion. For example, AHDB suggest an average FCR is 2.84, top 1/3 at 2.43 and top 10% at 2.23. Weight ranges vary with the category, but are approximately 40 kg to 88 kg DW.
At Premier, we are fortunate to see a large number of accurate batch results. In the following table we have looked at performance from 40-120 kg (92 kg DW) with pigs fed pelleted feed, and with barley at £314/tonne, wheat £321/tonne, wheatfeed £300/tonne and soya at £487/tonne. The feeds offered were changed at 65 and 90 kg.
Scenario A is a high performance level – good genetics and health, good buildings and a high level of management. Scenario B is more typical of production in larger groups in straw yards. Feed specifications were changed to reflect the performance (higher amino acid levels for scenario A).
The result is a staggering £14.44/pig in feed costs, almost 16 p/kg DW, between these scenarios. Capital cost is, of course, higher in scenario A, but with B there is straw costs and generally higher mortality to consider. Throughput is also higher in scenario A.
So, the value of 0.1 FCR is around £2.50/pig in feed costs (2.7 p/kg DW) – it has never been higher. Whilst we absolutely need to continue to challenge feeding programmes and feed specifications, we need to bear in mind the very high value of FCR.