Setting performance standards for your piggery

Performance standards are used to prepare financial budgets and set targets to improve areas of pig production. You need to set specific performance standards for your piggery and plan your production.

Piggery performance standards

The success of your piggery is dependent on:

  • genetics of the herd
  • the herd's environment
  • what you feed the herd
  • the herd's health
  • housing and good piggery management
  • meeting market specifications.

The size and type of your piggery determines what performance standards are important to you. Use these tables as a guide on industry standards and to identify where you can improve your piggery.

Pig herd average performance

Breeding herd

Performance standardFairGood Very good
Number of pigs born alive per litter 9.0 10.5 11.0
Number of pigs stillborn per litter 0.8 0.6 0.5
Pre-weaning mortality % 13 11 8
Farrowing rate % 82 87 89
Litters per sow each year (farrowing index) 2.1 2.2 2.3

Weight for age

Performance standardFairGood Very good
Birth (kg) 1.2 1.4 1.45
28 days (kg) 6.7 7.7 8

Grower herd

Performance standardFairGood Very good
Mortality % (wean to bacon) 7 5 3

Feed conversion ratio (FCR) – liveweight

2.7 2.5 2.3
Average daily liveweight gain from birth to bacon (g/day) 580 660 750

Whole herd

Performance standardFairGood Very good
Pigs sold per sow each year 19 22 24
FCR – dressed weight 4 3.85 3.7

Weight-for-age guide

Type of pig Age range (weeks) Liveweight (kg) Dressed weight (kg HSCW)
Porker 14–20 45–80 35–60
Baconer 18–25 80–120 60–105
  • Pre-weaning mortality % = ((number born alive - number weaned) x 100) ÷ number born alive.
  • Farrowing rate: the percentage of sows that farrow to a given number of matings.
  • Litters per sow a year = ((total litters farrowed in a time period ÷ average number of sows over the same time period) x 12) ÷ number of months.
  • When calculating 'average number of sows', every sow in the herd should be included, including any gilts mated and gilts running with a boar, taking the average total over the period.
  • FCR: kilograms of feed required to produce 1kg of pig meat. Expressed in terms of dressed weight or liveweight and measured over a given period of time. May be expressed for growers only (or a section of the grower herd) or over the whole herd of breeders and growers. Feed efficiency of the grower pig (normally calculated on a liveweight increase) decreases as age increases. The whole herd FCR (normally calculated on dressed weight sold) improves as the weight of slaughter pigs increases because the breeder herd feed is spread over the higher total weight of pork produced.
  • Dressed weight (hot standard carcass weight (HSCW) as defined by AUS-MEAT) = liveweight x killing-out percentage.
  • Dressing percentage (killing-out percentage) = (carcass weight ÷ liveweight) x 100. Normally, the heavier the pig, the higher the killing-out percentage, which is usually within the range of 72–80%.

All standards are expressed as herd averages.

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