Reducing costs on pig housing may prove more costly in the long run, as doing so can prevent pigs from reaching their genetic potential. Stephen Waite, JSR Genetics head of technology, while speaking at the recent JSR Farming Conference at York University, said pig producers could gain an additional GBP224 (US$365) a sow a year by improving their environment to ensure pigs meet their genetic potential.

“When someone builds a new-build, they like building it with minimum water access, minimum feed space and minimum floor space. They do that because that’s the cheapest. But minimums don’t change with genetic progress,” said Waite

Waite said environment governed how well genetic potential is reached and genetics performed very differently in different environments, Farmers Weekly reported.


Farrowing and temperatures

Controlling the temperature of a pig’s environment is one way producers can improve profitability, Waite said. The number of piglets born a sow was higher if they were served at the optimum temperature, Waite explained. Controlling the temperature is important, he explained, citing one example of when the temperature at service rose above 14C during the summer months, the average number of piglets born dropped. In an environment with a controlled temperature, the number of piglets born averaged 13.3, as opposed to 11.5 in an uncontrolled environment.

That difference equated to GBP80 (US$130) extra profit a gilt a year for four more piglets sold, Waite said.