BPEX blog

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Cost review for Cornish producers

Cornish pig producers got straight down to business, with a comparison of figures and review of costs at their first discussion group meeting of the year. All the units are indoors and have seen considerable investment over the last few years so it was pleasing, yet still surprising, to see performance had not dipped due to the inclement weather at the end of last year. Nor were there signs of seasonal infertility.

Discussion of the current lack of demand in the market quickly moved on to feed. As is the case for most other producers, this is the scariest factor. With little forward cover and no signs of feed prices dropping, the only promising sign was that pig prices would increase as demand returned to normal and supply declined. Many of the producers will be attending the BPEX and NPA risk management workshop in Exeter on 8 February.

They felt a vulnerability to factors outside the daily remit of pig production, including the exchange rate and, in the short term, more imports coming in. In the medium term, there was the view that European producers were going through the same problems, although they were going to have to face the challenge of the sow stall ban.

Next up were finishing pigs: the importance of knowing your contract maximum and minimum weights and the penalties for being outside these parameters. Also, the penalties involved with pigs being over probe. Producers still felt that ‘weight pays’ providing it is within the boundaries of the contract and very few pigs get penalised for being outside these parameters. A further challenge was finishing space and ensuring the pig was maximising its growth potential at all times without putting too much fat down.

Pete Bown was also there to discuss reasons for carcase condemnation and ran through the terminology used by the OVS (Official Veterinary Surgeon) and MHS (Meat Hygiene Service). Pete explained why pigs are being condemned and what may have caused these symptoms.

Tell us how you your business is tackling some of these challenges at the moment, either by commenting below or by contacting us direct.

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