Livestock

Pig costs

Does it make money?

Well, it depends how you do things and whether you are aiming to make money.

Your inputs are, essentially, the cost of the weaners, feedstuff, bedding, veterinary expenses, maintaining fences and housing, transport, slaughter and butchering. You may or may not want to cost in your time.

Your output is the pork and pork products. There are also capital costs involved in buying housing and feed / water troughs and putting up fencing. It’s reasonably simple arithmetic to work out how much you have to sell, either to yourself or to a real customer, to break even or make a profit.

Inputs

Taking a weaner purchased on 1st April at 2 months of age to slaughter in mid-October, based on feeding 0.45kg of feed per day for each month of age to a maximum of 2.75kg per day will take just under 20no. 20kg bags of feed.

In 2011, a weaner will cost about £50 to buy; feed at, say,  £6.50 per bag, plus £20 for bedding and £25 for slaughter.

Total costs (excluding butchery) around £225 per pig.

Butchery costs vary depending on what processing you want done – sausage making is relatively expensive, to reflect the extra labour for mincing and filling, and the cost of the skins.

Outputs

The killing out percentage for pigs is around 74%, so a 100kg liveweight pig will yield a carcase of about 74kg. Remember, this includes the head, trotters, surplus fat, bones, skin – everything apart from the blood and guts – so the saleable yield is less than that.

The percentage of usable meat is about 64% of liveweight, with prime cuts being about 48% of live weight, or 48kg for our fictional pig, so you can start to work out a selling price depending on what you think your market will stand against how much profit you want or need to make.

In 2011 prime cuts of rare breed pork is sold online for an average of around £8.00 per kg, yielding a potential income for prime cuts per 100kg pig of £384.

It’s sometimes difficult for the very small producer to overcome the fear of being left with several freezers full of pork and to price the pork realistically i.e. not to undervalue it.

Remember, this is a prime, quality product so price it accordingly!

Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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