Is MTF a better Measurement than FCR?

Newsletter No. 7 - Item 3

This article published last month (Nov 2008) on The Pigsite provides another perspective on benchmark performance figures that maybe easier to monitor and a very effective benchmark measurement of profitability.  The reasoning given is that Meat Per Tonne of Feed (MTF) is so much easier to record because in a commercial production unit all the work is done in the office and not out on the farm with all the hassle and distraction that weighing and measuring pigs and food entails.

The office records all feed purchased and all meat sold, so it is very simple to set up systems to monitor the costs of meat produced per tonne of feed sold.  No need for weighing of animals at any stage of the process.

This little table gives some clues to challenges facing Ostrich production.  When reading these tables, you will note that we provide 4 periods for ostrich, current, and after 3yrs, 5yrs and 10yrs development.  These targets assume instigating immediately a program of nutrition and management systems designed for high production and able to support the full genetic potential of the animals.  It also assumes a genetic improvement program that includes culling stock that are genetically unable to produce large frames and carry good meat yields, and selection of those lines that have the genetic ability to produce large frames, carry good meat yields and in a shorter period of time.  The targets are aggressive, but realistic with achievement also dependent on the quality of the foundation genetics.  They are targets that need to be achieved for ostrich to become commercially viable.


Ostrich Now

Ostrich 3yrs

Ostrich 5yrs

Ostrich 10yrs

Food Consumed to Slaughter






Slaughter Pigs/Birds per Tonne Feed






Total  saleable Meat/kg






Saleable Meat/tonne feed






Food consumed to slaughter is on a single unit basis (per pig/per ostrich).  Also note the definition of saleable meat is not a direct comparison between pig and ostrich.   The dressed carcass, the producer sale price for pigs, includes bone and skin, the ostrich weight includes meat only as Ostrich is generally “sold off the bone”.  

Slaughter Pigs/birds per tonne of feed illustrates the number of slaughter animals per tonne of feed consumed, but not the revenue.  Feed does control the amount of muscle an animal will develop during the growing period and also controls the amount and quality of the fat on the animal.

 A quote from the article:

Quote: Pig producers are - or should be - paid on dressed carcass weight (dcw), i.e. saleable meat. This can be established from their sale dockets for a chosen period. Set against this primary output the feed used over the same period - their main input cost - can be obtained from their feed invoices. In practice, I find a 3-month rolling average for this latter is adequate to reduce any inaccuracy to less than 1%, which compares well with the 8 to 9% found when using the FCR method which farmers are quite likely to get wrong. End Quote

Scale of operation is important as is the need to grow the animals in batches to accurately record the feed into the pen and meat sold from the pen.

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