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A Review of Pig Slaughter Weight Decisions

06 March 2014

Margin over feed (UK per pig) for each five-kilo increase in carcass weight at various feed prices has been calculated by BPEX - in collaboration with Nick White (Pig Advisory Services) - in no. 21 in the 'Knowledge Transfer Bulletin' series.

Many producers have increased slaughter weights in recent years and the economics of doing this are generally in favour, even with high feed costs and pig price below the overall cost of production, as demonstrated in the following table.

When looking at this as a policy change for an on-going unit then clearly other considerations come into play such as available accommodation, but looking at in reverse, i.e. is there any benefit in reducing slaughter weights when the feed price/pig price relationship is poor? - the answer is still that the extra weight is cost effective, unless of course the business needs to benefit from the short-term cash flow increase from extra sales and reduced feed consumption.

As with so many decisions of this nature, timing is critical, and predictions of future feed costs and pig prices will need to be assessed. On a rising pig market it may be prudent to maintain sale weights in both on-going and de-stocking situations, always providing of course that cash-flow does not determine otherwise.

In conclusion, a thorough assessment of all available information is needed to arrive at the correct decision appropriate to individual circumstances, and BPEX recommend the use of a comprehensive "What-If?" and/or cash-flow model through an experienced consultant to help in this process.

March 2014

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