Pig producers can improve returns by aiming for at least 85% of finished pigs to meet the top grade specifications on their abattoir contract, according to Walk the Line Day, an event designed to help share industry best practices among members of the pig supply chain.

How to most efficiently meet consumer requirements was a central topic of discussion at the event. “Processors want to receive a particular type of pig to best meet the demands of retailers and consumers for particular cuts, sizes and trends, such as the preference for low-fat pork," said BPEX knowledge transfer manager Lis Ravn. “Pigs that do not meet the optimum contract specifications require more processing, which incurs more cost and affects the price received by suppliers. It is essential that producers understand their contract and the product they need to supply. Pigs that grade outside the ‘optimum box’ can lose 10p per kilogram on average." 

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According to Ravn, weighing pigs routinely throughout their lifetime helps inform management decisions to improve uniformity, involving nutrition, health and environment, which all play a part.

Held at Vion Food Group’s British processing plant at Malton and jointly hosted by the British Pig Executive, the event is part of a wider program that aims to improve supply chain communications. “The event was a great opportunity to discuss prevailing issues and to promote a greater understanding of challenges facing both farmers and processors,” said Vion's William de Klein.