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A new year - A new plan

A new year - A new plan

This is an opportune time to take stock of what happened in the past, and to make plans for the future, writes Gerard McCutcheon.

It is important in any business to examine past performance. Do you know what your exact production costs were last year? Do you know what your feed cost was in 2023? On a twelve month basis 2023 was a reasonable year in pig production, but it followed a most difficult year in 2022. The main aim of any business is to optimise output and minimise production costs, so that losses are minimised or avoided in poor years, and profits maximised in good years. 

Now is the time to start planning and setting realistic targets for your unit for 2024. The most important step in the process is to know in advance, the costs of production. This is a good time to compile and analyse the production, feed and financial performance for your unit. Having done this you can see if there is any potential to make savings or improvements.

You can start by sending a completed Teagasc Profit Monitor (PM) Data Input Sheet to your Teagasc Advisor to complete the 2023 figures if you have not already done so. This will give you a picture of how well your unit is performing by comparison to the average figures for units using the PM recording system. 

Be conscious of completing your non-feed costs as accurately as possible. This will enable a proper analysis of your unit’s profitability and allow a greater focus on areas that need improvement. 

Questions you should think about

  • What is the optimum number of pig sales per week from your farm?
  • What is the optimum sale weight of pigs from your farm?
  • Are you producing too many pigs which may be reducing the overall profitability of the business?
  • Is your feed conversion from weaning to sale too high (average figure was 2.45 in 2022 while the top 25% was 2.28 on the Teagasc PM)?
  • What was the overall feed cost per kg deadweight for 2023 for the farm?
  • What was the breakdown of your non-feed costs in cent per kg deadweight for 2023?
  • What was the margin over feed (sale price minus feed cost) in cent per kg deadweight for 2023?
  • How can you improve these figures?

Having analysed these figures you should now make a plan to see what are you going to do in 2024 to improve the figures and optimise the overall profitability of your business. This is a discussion that is worth having with your Teagasc Advisor and any other interested/trusted parties to ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable.