Currently, the highly fluctuating ingredient prices are encouraging producers to evaluate their feeding programs. The worst parameter that can be used in a feeding program evaluation is feed cost per ton. Feed cost per ton does not account for the feed’s affect on pig growth performance. A better parameter to use in evaluations is the cost of feed per pound of gain.

Feed conversion (F/G), feed conversion ratio (FCR), feed conversion rate, or feed conversion efficiency, is a measure of an animal's efficiency in converting feed into increased body mass. Specifically, F/G is the mass of the food eaten divided by the body mass gain, all over a specified period of time. F/G is dimensionless, i.e. there are no measurement units associated with F/G. Animals that have a low F/G are considered efficient users of feed.

Therefore, any improvement in feed conversion (lb feed/ lb gain) can be considered as an opportunity to combat increasing feed prices.

In order to optimize feed conversion, it is important to recognize the factors that can affect it and their potential to increase or decrease F/G. The following factors can have a significant influence on F/G. 

 

Factor

Potential impact on F/G

1.

Feed wastage

+.50

2.

Scours

+.50

3.

Continuous flow production

+.25

4.

Pneumonia

+.25

5.

Mange

+.25

6.

Multiple source pigs       

+.2

7.

Mixing pigs

+.2

8.

Marketing above 270 lbs

+.2

9.

More than 500 pigs per airspace

+.2

10.

Less than 7 sq ft at 200 – 270 lbs

+.1

11.

Internal parasites

+.05

12.

Temperatures below 60 oF                          

+.02 / oF

13.

Temperature above 85 oF                            

+.01 / oF

14.

Proper protein (lysine) levels 

-.18

15.

Reducing feed particle size

-.15

16.

Pelleting feed

-.15        

17.

Antibacterial additives

-.07

18.

Proper phosphorus levels

-.05

19.

Adding 1% fat

-.05

20.

Genetics               

-.05

It is important that producers identify the management practices that can help them optimize feed conversion while maximizing profitability. Efficient feeder management and bio-security practices can have dramatic effects on improving feed conversion. This includes rodent control. (See factors 1 to 13). Equally important is the manipulation of nutrient levels in diets, which need to be oriented to match pig nutrient requirements, and to improve pig nutrient utilization (see 14 to 19).

As feed costs increase, the best way to maximize your profit is to optimize feed conversion. Feed cost is 55 to 60% of your annual cost of production. Utilizing inexpensive or poor-quality diets is being “penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

For further information, please see your local feed sales representative at a Land O’Lakes Feed Co-op or Purina Mills Dealer. Visit us online at www.LOLFeed.com, www.PurinaMills.com.

Copyright © 2008 Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC. All rights reserved. Due to factors outside of Land O’Lakes Purina Feed’s control and because of market uncertainties, individual results to be obtained, including but not limited to financial performance, profits, losses or otherwise, cannot be predicted or guaranteed by Land O’Lakes Purina Feed