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Lower Sow Feed Production Hints at Falling Herd

18 May 2016

British Pig Executive

UK - Latest figures from Defra show that one per cent more compound pig feed was produced in the first quarter of 2016 than a year earlier. However, within this total, there was a 5 per cent reduction in breeding pig feed.

This is the second consecutive quarter with falling sow feed output, which may be an indication that the tough financial position facing producers is starting to have an effect on sow numbers. However, this conclusion should be treated with some caution, as feed production has not always been a reliable predictor of breeding herd trends in the past.

The new figures also show that the price of pig feed was at its lowest level in nearly six years during the quarter, at £209/tonne.

This is 12 per cent lower than a year before and suggests that pig production costs may have fallen further in early 2016, helping to partly mitigate the fall in pig prices.

There was more use of wheat and barley in compound animal feed during the three months than in January to March 2015. This was partly at the expense of oats but maize use was little changed. For protein, more soya meal was used in place of rape and sunflower meals.

However, the most dramatic movement continues to be the rise in the use of pulses. Although quantities are still relatively small, more than four times more were used than a year earlier. Pulses haven’t been used on this scale in feed production in well over a decade.

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