Estimated £200m industry cost of converting to free farrowing systems
30th Jul 2021 / By Alistair Driver
Converting to free farrowing systems could cost the UK pig sector more than £200 million, according to a leading buildings and equipment supplier.
ARM Buildings has calculated that the cost for a new house equipped with freedom farrowing style pens ranges from £5,500 to £6,000 per sow, depending on the level of equipment, compared with £3,500 to £4,000 for pens with ‘traditional’ farrowing crates. This is largely due to fewer pens being fitted into any house of a given size.
ARM estimates that it would cost between £2,000 and £2,600 to per sow place convert an existing building to freedom farrowing. However, because it will contain fewer pens, any remaining sows will have to be housed in another conversion or new build so the cost is likely to average out at £3,000 to £3,500 per place.
The total cost to the industry would be between £165 to £210m, ARM estimates.
The UK is currently examaning the future of farrowing crates in the UK, following the European Commission's announcement that it intends to introduce legislation banning the use of farrowing crates by the end of 2023.
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said it was crucial that the Government works with the industry in the event of a ban 'to ensure we can retain a thriving pig sector and avoid simply exporting production to countries still using farrowing crates'.
She said banning crates as soon as 2027 at EU or UK level, as some NGOs are calling for, was an ‘impossible ask’ and said the Government and supply chain would need to support prodcuers through any transition.
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