Genetic Influence on Feed Conversion (FCR)

Newsletter No. 69 - Item 4

The comments below refer to Pigs, but the principles are exactly the same for ostrich and illustrate just how far we have to go yet with ostrich and the opportunities when achieved:

Quote:  "Processors want to ensure they have the best pigs to suit their system and retail customers. It surprises me that producers change their genetics without consulting their customer - the processor."  says Dr Walling.

JSR has spoken to a number of processors on this issue and has found that of the three major UK processors they only knew of three producers that had contacted them prior to changing the boar lines.

"Can you imagine a company like Heinz deciding to change the type of beans in their cans without any customer research? Those keeping pigs should keep one eye on their customers' requirements," he advises. End Quote

The above is a quote from the article from the Pig Site.  That statement provides further clues on just how much work we still have to accomplish to establish ostrich as a viable industry.  That statement also provides clues to recognise just how much untapped potential there is....to date there has been no genetic development in ostrich, not for performance or customer requirements.

Another little quote from the article that highlights the opportunities ahead for ostrich production with the right approach:

Quote:Two decades of production proof:   Dr Walling agrees that for the past couple of years producers have quite rightly focused on lines that would minimise levels of mortality. However, now that farms have a better control of PMWS producers are beginning to look at other aspects, especially given the situation with feed prices.

"Many with Hampshire lines will have seen an increase in appetite without an FCR benefit, but that is now starting to hurt financially, so they are now looking elsewhere," he addsEnd Quote

An article written by Sue Corning from PIC UK, a major pig genetic company highlights 8 points where genetics play a major role in improving efficiency.  This final point emphases how tight costings are in meat production.

Quote:  Value for money?

Look for a track record – establish what performance can be achieved, realistically. Genetics is perhaps three per cent of costs, of which perhaps up to a half will be sireline genetics. So, if the cost of production is say 120p/kg, then the sireline genetic cost per pig at 75kg deadweight is about £1.35p. An extra 50g growth per day is likely to be worth £1.50/pig and an improvement of 0.08 in FCE could be worth £1.30/pig.

When times are hard make the genetics work - it may not be one of the largest costs, but producers should ensure that they are earning the most value from it. The cost of genetics is unlikely to make the difference between a business sinking or swimming, but the right genetics certainly can. Think carefully before making a change.

It is not possible within a genetic selection programme to make changes instantaneously. So if you want it all... and you want it now... then look for established sirelines with a proven record that are delivering now, yet have further potential for the future. end quote

The majority of ostrich breeder stock traded over the years have no records and more often sold because the original farmer is leaving the industry.   The condition of the breeders and the long history of variable and often substandard management is a major variable our industry needs to address to achieve meaningful data to progress.

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