Faster Pig Finishing

UK - An improvement in feed conversion rate of 0.5 and faster growth has resulted in pigs finishing 21/2 weeks earlier compared with straw yards in one of the UK’s newest and largest finishing houses.
calendar icon 13 December 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

The biggest-ever building shell constructed by ARM Buildings has been completed for J C Lister Farms in North Yorkshire. Holding up to 2,000 finishing pigs, it is designed to achieve optimum economies of scale. It measures 100m x 15.6m (325 ft x 58 ft) and is divided into four rooms, each with ten pens holding 50 pigs per pen.

Figures from the first three batches of pigs — totalling 1500 pigs — showed an average feed conversion rate of 2.15 — 0.4 better than the company’s straw yard system — and a daily liveweight gain of between 955 and 985g. The pigs weighed between 31.4 kg and 39 kg on entering the building and 103 kg-105 kg on leaving. Probe measurements have also been good with the last batch averaging 11.08 mm P2 at 77.89 kg.

Richard Lister calculates that the savings benefit, compared with average straw yard finishing of 750 g per day and a feed conversion of 2.75 is worth a total of £6.60 per pig. This is broken down into two weeks growth, £1.60; feed conversion improvement of 0.4, £3.50; better grading £1.00 and a 1 per cent reduction in mortality, £0.50.

“Although we would expect a ‘honeymoon’ period from a new building, we have been extremely pleased with the performance, especially the evenness in finishing. A combination of factors has produced this level of performance — healthy pigs in a clean and healthy environment,” commented Richard Lister.

The ventilation system was designed and installed by Yorkshire-based TC Farm Services — who kitted out the whole of the building. Air is drawn in through Scan-air controlled ridge inlets and extracted through wall-mounted fans, all of which are regulated by Dicam controls.

Pen divisions are constructed from Paneltim plastic panels and two pens per room feature a variable geometry facility whereby pigs can be isolated in one-third of the normal space when ready for slaughter — having access to water but not feed. They can be also used as emergency/hospital pens. Pigs are pipeline fed by the Meyer-Lohne system already on site and slurry from the fully-slatted set-up is stored above ground for spreading onto the surrounding land.

At between £156 and £180 per pig place the price fell within the guidelines specified in the British Pig Project, pointed out Tony Chapman, director of TC Farm Services.

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