Using higher quality boars is helping a Ryedale farmer increase the slaughterweight of his finishing pigs by over 17 per cent while maintaining grading, thus improving returns without expanding his herd.
Stephen Till, who runs a 100-sow breeding-and-finishing unit at Welburn, started using ACMC’s Ultra boars, through both AI and natural service, just over a year ago. The average deadweight of his finishing pigs, sent to Karro Food Group’s abattoir at Malton, was 68 kg deadweight and is now 80kg with 75 per cent of the pigs still achieving under the 12mm probe measurement specified in the contract for top grade. The aim is to push this up to 85kg in the near future.
He aims to improve that still further by changing the diet formulation during the latter stages of finishing, between 80kg and 110 kg. “The current ration is ‘too good’ for the pigs above 80kg liveweight so we are making a change to a lower protein/lower energy diet. This combined with the use of Ultra boars and AI should improve grading still further and reduce the cost of production during the final stages,” he said.