Our modern genotypes must have modern buildings if we’re to get the best from them

UK - I have recently visited several units where they actually know their grams-per-day liveweight gain in various buildings and seasonal effects on growth rates and grading, says Pig Worlds Sam Walton.
calendar icon 31 July 2006
clock icon 3 minute read
JSR Genetics on ThePigSite.com

You can bet your bottom dollar that the newer the building the better the performance. Many are talking about a payback time of around 18 months, or even less. Quicker growth rates and better conversion – as the temperature and ventilation are more easily controlled – coupled with better grading, soon makes a difference of several pence a kilo. And every 5p saved is almost £4 a pig.

Some are saying a saving of 12p per kilo is possible, well that is cracking on for £10 a pig so you don’t need many batches through to pay for a new shed as Grampian have proved in Scotland with their heavier pigs. I know pigs were fatter and probably stronger in the old days and you could prod them with a stick in the markets to guide them into pens. They would survive in a variety of conditions and still grow and, yes, probably more often than not they would leave a shilling or two behind.

The more I see of new housing the more I realise just what the genetic potential is today, and the more I realise that still on many units, for whatever reason – maybe financial – that the modern genotype is often expected to perform in the conditions we had for those fatter, stronger, slower-growing pigs, and the two don’t marry up very well.

With the stable prices we now have, and look like having this year, it could be all that is needed to persuade those who are undecided about what to do, to take the bull by the horns and improve conditions for their growers and finishers.


We cannot ignore the health status of the industry generally and our own units in particular. Generally there seems to have been something of an improvement this last year and vets report a drop in the sales of some of the antibiotics which have done such a good job over the years.

There seems to quite a good uptake of the new British Pig Health Scheme and I am looking forward to spending some time in an abattoir before, watching vets do the carcase scoring.

Courtesy of Pig World

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