BPEX blog

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Feed price hike - breaking even

Data analysis shows an increase of £30 a tonne in feed means 3.07 extra pigs will be required to break even.

Agrosoft is using the HandiCalc performance analysis tool to give producers a clear understanding of the possible impact of rising feed prices on:

  • the cost of production (CoP) per carcase kilogram
  • and the corresponding margin.

Performance is entered using figures such as farrowing rate, born alive and weaned per litter, post-weaning mortality, feed conversion ratio, entry and exit weights etc.

HandiCalc then applies 'what if' analyses to different scenarios. These involve incremental increases in feed price per tonne and demonstrating how improvements in performance can make a significant contribution to balancing the challenges of increased costs.

So, for example, for the UK CoP recently published in the BPEX European Cost of Production Report 2009, the break even pigs sold/sow/year would be 18.87. And it would be 21.94 with a £30/tonne additional feed increase: therefore 3.07 extra pigs would be required to break even.

It is also important to minimise feed wastage and improve feed efficiency. 2TS Action for Productivity 18: Efficient Feed Usage outlines the key areas to consider.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Finisher units measure up

One important message came through from a very busy finisher workshop in the South West: measure the changes you make to understand what your inputs are doing for pig performance.

A total of 41 finishers came along for the BPEX finisher workshop at Collumpton. Elanco really got the room thinking with an explanation of its Full Value Pig concept: weight variation is a real issue on units and some pigs are over 40kg apart at the same age.

The group started to consider their own unit and what could be happening to cause this weight disparity - deciding on the possible factors within genetics, health, environment and the seasons.

BPEX is running seven Full Value Pig projects with Elanco on farm and would like to see more. Get in touch with me or your regional Knowledge Transfer Manager if you're interested.

  • Annie Davis from the George Vet Group Pig updated us on mycoplasma arthritis and bovine TB
  • we took a look at what has come out of a BPEX PCV2 study
  • and brainstormed ways to solve tail biting!

We rounded up with a NADIS health quiz and a chat about a new concept that George Vet Group is trialling: all about checking lying area requirements versus total space requirements and understanding what feed cost is lost through pigs lying outside their thermal neutral zone.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Make sure ventilation is really working

Pig producers are looking more closely at how efficient their ventilation systems really are, having watched BPEX's Pig Unit Ventilation DVD.

Ventilation systems are usually scrutinised when a new building is put up but they must also be regularly checked and maintained throughout the life of the building. On the DVD John Chambers explains what an effective pig unit ventilation system should do and how to maintain and run it. Importantly, it provides the information and advice to help producers assess their own units and make informed decisions about ventilation.

Key points to consider include:

• The typical air flow within buildings and the problems that can result from where cold air lands
• What does pig behaviour say about the current temperature/draughts?
• Are building temperatures and outside temperatures monitored?
• Should fans have louvers over them?
• Ventilation requirements should be reviewed regularly, especially when building use or stocking level changes, for example when changing to a batch system

Free copies of the DVD are available to producers from BPEX regional Knowledge Transfer Managers or by e-mailing kt@bpex.org.uk or calling 02476 478793.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

All roads lead to China...

The way has opened for export of UK pig meat and breeding pigs to China, with two landmark agreements this week.

This means exports from approved plants can commence and it opens up the world’s largest market to UK pig producers, after a number of years’ work by BPEX in conjunction with Defra, UKTI and the Chinese authorities.

Formal agreement of the export health certificate for export of pig meat from the UK to the China has been confirmed to the UK’s Business Minister Vince Cable by the Chinese authorities.

In addition, Dr Cable has signed an agreement which re-opens the export of British breeding pigs to China. The deal is valued at around £45 million to the UK pig industry over the next five years. Dr Cable flew to China yesterday alongside Prime Minister David Cameron as part of the largest UK Government and business delegation ever to visit the Far Eastern giant.

BPEX Chairman Stewart Houston said: “This is wonderful news for the industry and something we have really been looking forward to. It will offer enormous opportunities for pig meat, particularly with a range of fifth quarter products – the parts of the carcase that command a premium in China.

“We are very grateful for the hard work and spirit of co-operation shown not only by the Chinese but also Defra’s international animal health division and the British Embassy and UKTI team in Beijing, to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion. The process did get delayed somewhat by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2007 which temporarily halted the talks.”

And BPEX's Helen Thoday has just returned from a visit to China, where she has seen first hand how pork is produced and consumed in the country which is home to half of the world's pig population. Read more on her blog on the NPA website.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Pfizer Trainee of the Year 2010

This year's Pfizer Trainee of the Year is Kate Munro-Ashman, of Bucklebury near Reading. She is pictured above receiving her award — worth £2,500 — from environment select committee chairman Anne McIntosh.

Kate is the third female winner of the Pfizer Trainee of the Year Award, following Georgina Cherrill last year and Hazel Baker in 2004.

For more information please visit: http://www.pigworld.co.uk/Pages/Sections/ToY2010.html

Kate Ashman and runner up Helen Hooks are both benefiting from the BPEX Professional Manager Development Scheme - click here for more information.