The InterPIG annual InterPIG survey gives major pig producing countries the opportunity to benchmark their production against their major international competitors and is therefore an invaluable tool in measuring performance.
A total of 15 countries are now part of theInterPIG network and submit data to the project, which has been running since 2002. Both the SEGES Pig Research Centre in Denmark and AHDB Pork in England are members of the group, which now represents most of the major pig producing countries in the EU, as well as the US, Canada and Brazil.
The figures used are based on average performance data and considerable effort is made to standardise the data to take account of national differences in order to present a meaningful comparison. Of course, fluctuating exchange rates need to be taken into account when making year-on-year comparisons.
The latest report contained data for 2014. All the key figures are contained in a recent report (English language) published by the AHDB - '2014 Pig Cost of Production in Selected Countries'.
The latest data for 2014 confirms that producers in the US, Canada and Brazil still enjoy significant cost advantages over their EU counterparts - €1.19 per kg, €1.20 per kg and €1.26 per kg respectively. Spain (€1.46) and Denmark (€1.51) are the lowest cost producers among the EU members and Great Britain appears at the top end (€1.71).
Feed is the main cost factor accounting for around two-thirds of the overall cost of producing a pig and this is the key area that has given the US, Canada and Brazil competitive advantage against their EU competitors. The other cost areas presented in the report are ‘other’ variable costs, labour and depreciation and finance.
The report also looks at a wide range of KPIs to compare efficiency and productivity between the various countries – these include factors such as ‘pigs weaned per sow year’, ‘mortality’, ‘daily weight gain’ and ‘feed conversion ratios’.
Probably the most frequently reviewed KPI is ‘pigs weaned per sow year’ and Denmark tops the chart in this area, achieving over 30 pigs for the first time in 2014. It is recognised that Great Britain has a lot of catching up to do as it achieved an average figure of 24.1 pigs, with a marked difference between ‘indoor pigs’ (25.7 pigs) and ‘outdoor pigs’ (21.8 pigs). The main reason for the lower Great Britain figures is lower average litter size – 12.1 piglets compared to 15.6 piglets in Denmark.
As regards comparing performance in growing and finishing pigs, the factors such as ‘daily weight gain’ and ‘feed conversion ratios’ are the key areas at which to look. Denmark is definitely ‘mid-table’, with significant room for improvement versus its main competitors.