November 30, 2011
There is still room for improvement for the UK swine industry which is regarded as 'quite poor' at measuring feed conversion rates (FCR) even though this is the most imperative economic characteristic in pig production.
Ed Sutcliffe, geneticist and technical director of pig breeding company, ACMC, told a meeting of Northamptonshire Quality Pig Producers' Association at Moulton College, near Northampton that producers record all kinds of other data, such as numbers born and growth rate, but not feed conversion.
"Everyone makes a conscious decision when to market pigs - generally as heavy as possible - but do they know how the FCR of their pigs differ through the growth curve?" he asked.
"A little effort is required, but measuring some pigs later in the growth curve would allow this to be considered and could surprise those producers not using feed efficient genetics about the lack of return at heavier weights."
He showed that an improvement of one standard deviation in feed conversion (equivalent to about 0.4 FCR points) could be worth about GBP18.52 (US$28.90) per pig, taking the view that daily feed intake remained the same.
He accepted that getting accurate feed conversion figures could be difficult to do, particularly for producers with automatically-fed pigs in continuous-flow, intensive buildings.