The PigSite ran an article discussing the importance of keeping good records focusing on measuring feed conversion. The article illustrates how just a small improvement can make a significant difference in the overall profitability.
Quote: Producers record numbers born and have a reasonable idea of growth rate while backfat is measured for them when finished pigs are slaughtered. Yet none of these is as important as feed conversion rate (FCR).
Pointing out the relative importance of these factors, Mr Sutcliffe 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.
In comparison, one standard deviation in grading was worth £1.51; in daily gain, £9.46, and numbers born alive, £5.91 per pig. While one standard deviation is a large change in a trait, it does allow the relative economic impact of each trait to be assessed. End Quote
The author also mentioned the challenge of recording feed intake when feeding is on a conveyor system as is the case in many pig houses today. It is usually possible to achieve FCR figures on a batch basis if not individual basis and is the best that can be expected in high production systems.
So what factors control feed conversion? This is a combination of productive rations supported by excellent feed and farm management systems, good stockmanship and the genetics of the livestock. The fact that no genetic work has yet started with ostrich illustrates how this is an area that offers such exciting potential in the future of our industry.