Mercedes Vega, Genesus General Director for Spain, Italy & Portugal

When I wrote the last report I said that we were at prices that we had never seen before, but it has continued to rise to reach 1.722 €/kg live weight and has been repeating for five weeks. Not only have these values never been reached before, but even less after the summer.

Source: Mercolleida

Although raw materials costs have dropped somewhat, it is very difficult to produce without losing money at these prices.

Source: 3Tres3

The weights, in recent years, were slowly rising, but with the hot summer, we are at the lowest weights in the last three years.

Source: Mercolleida

According to data provided by SIP Consultors, the evolution of the year is really complicated for production.

Source: SIP Consultors

The evolution of the market continues with uncertainty that we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow. Neither on the supply side, “production” as we have already seen, nor on the demand side, “meat industry”. The latter was able to pass on some of it in the spring increase in meat prices, but now they need to process more pigs to dilute their costs, but they cannot increase their prices because the final link in the chain, “the consumer”, cannot pay them and distribution does not accept these increases.

But to all this, which does not depend at all on the sector, we must add an issue that has all Spanish producers very worried and that does depend on the sector. This issue is the increase in mortalities in recent years, to which we must add how it will affect the withdrawal of antibiotics and zinc oxide by the EU legislation of mandatory compliance. They have been increasing the mortality little by little in the last decade, but from 2017 to today has almost doubled the percentage of deaths in phase 2 and phase 3.

From here, and in my humble opinion, I think we need to look at what we are doing in production. We have focused on “piglets” produced per sow per year, instead of “pigs” produced per sow per year. Or perhaps more in “kg of meat” per sow per year; or if we refine a little more, meat produced per productive life of the sow.

Until now, the weight of the piglet at weaning was important, but up to a limit that was solved with extra management and feeding because the sow is not able to get her litters ahead without help, and even with this, they are weaned at weights that are difficult to get out. If we add to this the new legislation, how are these piglets going to be able to be removed and at what cost, will they be able to walk out of the farm?

All crises give rise to opportunities. Perhaps the time has come to give a twist to our concepts, and to consider that the logical thing is that piglets are born that can get ahead with their mother, piglets with a weight that can be weaned and that start to eat and grow without problems. It is not the same to wean piglets with an average weight of 6 kilos, in which there is an important percentage of lower weight than to wean piglets over 7 kilos at the same age.

In short, the sows farrow and produce piglets that can suckle, and they can fulfill their productive life, without falling by the wayside. That the piglets that are weaned can evolve and meet the objectives.

This way of seeing things is what has led me to be where I am in a company that is committed to this philosophy, and I am convinced that the future goes that way.

I hope that this new crisis in which we find ourselves will help us to look at the production with other glasses that will help us to improve. We are of course in a moment of great uncertainties, but this should not prevent us from analyzing the situation from a different perspective.

At Genesus we are proud that our customers can produce with our Genesus F1 sow over 28 pigs to market out of the farm gate.

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This post was written by Genesus