pigs; rations

Piggery tips from an expert

THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE USING YOUR OWN ANIMALS TO BREED WITH

The perceived advantage of using on-farm stock is that the farmer does not need to buy in breeding stock or pay a royalty fee to the breeding company for using its dam lines. But the hard reality is that production may be affected due to the following:

■ The farmer might use terminal pigs, intended for marketing, as breeding stock.

■ The genetic value of the animals expressed in traits such as good mothering ability, productive longevity, superior feed conversion, exceptional carcass muscling and efficient growth, might be lost. These functional traits maximise profitability.

■ Genetics has advanced with improved technology. Inbreeding means the farmer loses the advantages offered by new and improved genetics. This could affect productive output.

■ Using “homegrown” animals with which to breed is like saving cents while losing rands.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SCALING UP

■ Make sure your environmental impact assessment certificate accommodates the upgrade to avoid penalties that might put you out of business.

■ Research the market and secure marketing contractswherepossible. If you cannot market pigs at the right time, it will have a negative impact on profit.

■ Know your input costs for the first production cycle. This is especially important when it comes to feed expenses, which could make up 80% of input costs.

■ Buy your breeding stock from a reputable pig breeder. Look for the genetic traits that will meet your market needs and make you profitable.

Shop around for prices and services to get the best.

THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF AN IDEAL 100-SOW UNIT

The 100-sow unit should consist of:

■ A farrowing house
■ A weaner house
■ A grower house
■ A breeding house
■ A gestation house

There are specifications to consider when building each house: the capacity of each pen, the feeder space, easy access to the water source and the number of pigs per pen play a crucial role in the growth, health and performance of the animals.

There are specific criteria on the distance between houses and how high they should be to ensure good ventilation. It is also important to have enough land to build on.

Advice courtesy of Sarah Chirwa of Technical Services for Emerging Farmers at PIC South Africa.

To find out more, get in touch with Sarah at sarah@picrsa.co.za or 060 989 0788.

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