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Fast-growing pigs help to cut costs
WHEN JSR Farms was looking to become more efficient, it turned to its own genetics arm to develop new sire lines.
The pig production division of the JSR Farming Group has 4,000 sows producing 2,000 pigs a week.
Against a backdrop of rapidly-rising feed prices – up 40 per cent in the past three years – James Christian, JSR’s chief operating officer, was closely examining the performance of the four breeding sites and 12 finishing units.
He needed to find new ways of maximising output while minimising costs.
Faster-growing pigs, achieving heavier weights, could be the answer – but it needed to be done efficiently, with no negative impact on feed conversion ratios.
“We discussed our ideas with JSR Genetics and challenged them to develop new sire lines for our business that could produce rapidlygrowing, high quality, robust pigs without compromising feed efficiency, quality or resilience,” said Mr Christian.
“It was quite a challenge, but they didn’t let us down.
Trials of the resulting new lines, the Geneconverter 800m and 400m, produced such immediate, positive results that the decision to switch all of our production over to the new lines was easy.”
Twelve months ago, JSR also identified a need to increase the slaughter weights of their pigs – during that time the carcase weight has increased by 3kg.
It now has contracts to work towards a target slaughter weight in excess of 83kg. The pigs are also delivering good carcase yields while maintaining low back fat levels of an average of 10.2mm.
This suggests the new sire lines can produce heavier weights without compromising quality.
In terms of growth, they are, on average, gaining an additional 122g per day from 30kg to slaughter.
However, they are also making exceptional progress in the critical, early stages of development, increasing JSR’s average weaning weight by an average of 0.75kg.
This, together with enhanced natural resistance to a range of widespread diseases, including scour, is helping the business to achieve impressive low mortality and high average weaning rates.
These are currently running at more than 11.5 per litter, right across the business.
Mr Christian said the results spoke for themselves.
“We have made good progress in our efforts to take our pigs to heavier weights, without compromising quality or efficiency and we’ve reduced our overall cost of production by 2.5 per cent,”
“This is great news for our business and we will continue to increase slaughter weights up to 90kg.”
Dr Grant Walling JSR Genetics director of science and technology, said: “We are always working to improve the genetics we offer to our customers and, as one of our largest clients, the production arm of our own business can be guaranteed to continue challenging us and helping us to deliver sire lines the industry is looking for.
“As we continue to work with our international partners and invest heavily in research and development, we believe that we have more, very exciting breakthroughs on the way.”
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