For the first time in almost 10 years, herd productivity in GB pig herds fell on the year according to a new report from Agrosoft.

Figures show that for 2018, the average number of pigs sold per sow per year, fell from 24.09 in 2017 to 23.84 in 2018. This was largely due to a fall in the number of litters per sow per year, from 2.3 to 2.2.

According to the report, this is probably due to poorer fertility levels during the hot summer last year. The impact of this hot weather was then worsened by a rise in both rearing and finishing mortality. Some anecdotal reports suggest disease levels have been a challenge for the industry, with further evidence from APHA disease surveillance reports.

The outdoor breeding herd drove the overall decline in sow performance, with the number of pigs weaned per sow falling from 23.95 to 23.22 (-0.73) for outdoor herds. Sows produced fewer litters, containing fewer piglets born alive than the year before.

Conversely, indoor herds still managed to achieve a small improvement in performance last year. Pigs weaned per sow increased from 26.97 to 27.35 (+0.38). While the number of litters per sow did decline, increased litter sizes and lower pre-weaning mortality levels counteracted this.