Productivity of British Sows Improves

9 March 2015, at 10:21am

UK - In 2014, improvements in many aspects of the physical performance of the breeding herd in Great Britain helped to increase the overall productivity of sows.

This led to higher pig meat production per sow than the previous year, based on analysis of latest data from Agrosoft. The average number of pigs born alive per litter rose to 12.1, up 0.2 compared with 2013. Along with a slight fall in pre-weaning mortality, this meant that the number of pigs weaned per sow per year increased to 24.1, up from 23.6 in the previous year.

These two measures, combined with reduced post-weaning mortality, meant the number of pigs sold per sow per year increased accordingly, to 22.7 (up by 0.4). With carcass weights also rising, the amount of pig meat produced per sow rose by three per cent, or 50kg, to 1,820kg in 2014.


These improvements were more prominent in the bigger indoor herd. For example, the number of pigs weaned per sow indoors was up three per cent, or 0.7 pigs, on the year to 25.7. Indoor pre-weaning mortality was also down on the year, whereas outdoors it increased, widening the gap between the two. The number of pigs weaned per outdoor sow was only 0.1 higher than in 2013, at 21.8.

The performance of the feeding herd was also improved in 2014, contributing to the increased production. In particular, feed was converted more efficiently in both the rearing and finishing herd. The Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) for the former was down from 1.75 in 2013 to 1.71 in 2014, while the finishing FCR fell by 0.11 to 2.67. This meant around 7kg less feed was used per pig last year, contributing to reduced feed costs. Daily weight gains were, however, little changed, with a small rise in the rearing herd offset by a modest fall in the finishing stage.

More detailed figures for these and other physical performance indicators can be accessed through the BPEX web site.

Further Reading

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