Batch Farrowing Place

Cost investigation on pig farms – production changes


A major advantage of running the farm around the batch farrowing place is the ability to compare the cost of production systems.  This paper looks at the simpler global models that can be developed.  Later papers will examine cost control in more detail when individual parts of the farm are examined.

The basic model of 20 batch farrowing places will apply to all of the examinations.  Readers are encouraged to examine their own farm capabilities.

Cost investigation

Using the BPEX 2009 Pig Yearbook Table B8 Summary of variable and fixed costs page 44 we are provided with cost analysis.  How does this compare to our ideal farm?

While the costs are calculated on average live weight and farmers are actually paid on dead weight, the percentages would still remain the same.

Using our standard 20 batch farrowing place farm what are our targets using these costings.

The costs are resorted by percentage value – largest to smallest.

The actual farm costs for each of the categories can be inputted into the spreadsheet.  A comment is provided based on how farm the actual costs vary from the target value either lower or higher.


Changes in the actual cost of component will be explored in the next paper.

This paper will look at a some production changes.


(in the spreadsheet below - the actual is set at a default value 0%*the target - this can be customised)

Obviously ideally you should input your own values.

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Impact of changes in production


Failing to fill each farrowing place

The spreadsheet clearly demonstrates that failing to fill a farrowing place results in a loss of £400.

These are direct loss as this represents the cost of paying all the normal expenses which still happen if pigs were alive or not.  The only real “saving” is the feed the pigs would have eaten.  This is equivalent to increasing the cost of production by 3p kg dead weight on the rest of the batch.


Change in farrowing rate

A change in the farrowing rate produces only a small change in the cost of production because the only impact is in the feed eaten by the extra (or less) sows.  On our example farm, if the farrowing rate fell by 4% (say in the summer) the cost of production increased less than 0.5p per kg.  This would result in a loss of £4K.


Change in pigs weaned per farrowing place

Producing more pigs increases dead weight assuming the post-weaning finishing rate and dead weight is not affected and the farm has sufficient space in the nursery.  However, an extra 0.2 pigs weaned reduced cost of production by 1p resulting in an increase in profit of £8K.


Change in post-weaning finishing rate – post-weaning mortality

A change in post-weaning mortality has a small change in cost of production.  This assumes that the subclinical problems do not reduce dead weight.  In addition, there is a significant difference in losing a 10 kg pig compared with a 100 kg pig.  This spreadsheet does not account for the extra food eaten with stage of death – this will be examined in more detail in papers on the finishing herd production.  However, assuming that the dead weight is the same – a 2% change in post-weaning mortality resulted in a 1p change in production of a loss of £9K profit.


Change in live weight kg sold

This has a direct impact on dead weight – the one production criteria we are paid for.  Any increase in live weight while staying within the slaughterhouse matrix increases profit.  A 5kg increase in live weight resulted in nearly £25K profit.  But note, in the EU, if the live weight increases above 110kg there is a significant change in legal space required per pig from 0.65 m2 to 1.00 m2.



The use of spreadsheets based on batch farrowing places allows the farm to concentrate on areas which directly impact the profitability of the farm.  This clearly demonstrates that effort in getting the right pig to market is more important than the farrowing rate or the number of sows.