Saving Feed Costs with Faster Growth

Newsletter No. 61 - Item 4

The following is the header for an article in Feed Formulator, published this week. (2013 note:  This article was published in 2008 but the principles discussed remain important today as the are the basis of commercial livestock production):

Quote: Improving growth rate in finishing pigs by as little as 70 g per day can help hard-pressed pig producers increase returns by £2.86 per pig, amounting to over £30,000 for the annual output from a 500-sow herd, according to Ed Sutcliffe, technical director of ACMC. End Quote

Putting this statement into perspective for ostrich, Figure 1 below illustrates meat yield comparisons and days taken to slaughter. The graphic depicts the current industry average slaughter weights and larger meat birds, which followed the scientific model that the scientists at Stellenbosch University graphed in 1992 as the potential growth of ostrich (explained here). The green area depicts the additional meat that results from the increased weight. The graph demonstrates that at 200 days, the birds have as much meat as the current average birds at 360 days. That is 160 days less feed, revenue received 160 days earlier and less infrastructure required to maintain birds for an additional 160 days.

160 Days less feed is a reduction in feed cost per bird of approximately US$50/bird. Based on the equivalent number of birds required to produce similar tonnage as the 500-sow herd example above, that is a massive saving of: US$1,250,000 at current bird average weights.

Comparative Meat Yields

Figure 1 - Comparative Meat Yields

Increase the yield by 50% is a massive additional - $150/bird additional revenue at average $10/kg: that is increased revenue of $3,750,000. It takes approximately 8,500 fewer birds to produce same volume of meat.

These improvements in performance are very achievable with the stock we currently have, when reared under the right management systems and with the right rations. Once the genetic improvement program starts to show benefit, the potential for further improvements remains very significant establishing Ostrich as a highly profitable industry.

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