Pig feed conversion

The pig industry is “quite poor” at measuring feed conversion, even though it is the most important economic trait in pig production, a meeting of producers was told.

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 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 Feed Converstion Rate 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 demonstrated that an improvement of one standard deviation in feed conversion (equivalent to about 0.4 FCR points) could be worth as much as �18. 52 per pig, assuming 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.