Engormix/Pig Industry/Technical articles

Feed Conversion

Better Feed Conversion improves the Bottom Line

Published on: 5/26/2011
Author/s : Hans Aae (Vitfoss Denmark)
In a time with very high feedstuff prices it is extremely relevant to focus on the possibilities rendered by a better feed conversion. If the feed efficiency is increased by 0.1 per kg gain it results in app. 2 Euros extra in gross margin for one finishing pig It is obvious that slaughter pig production is an area, in which a better feed economy provides the most apparent effect, the issue is, however, not less important for sows and piglets.

Focus to be placed on grinding

There is a direct linear correlation between particle size and feed conversion. The finer the grinding, the better the feed conversion. A test from "Pig Research Centre" (VSP) demonstrated that the feed conversion was improved by 10% with a fine grinding of the feed compared to a more coarse structure.

As the figure shows 20% fine ground particles in the grain component will result in 0.1 kg feed per kg gain, equivalent to 8 - 10 kg feed less consumed.

Remember to grind soy meal

Fine grinding of soy meal has a positive effect on the ileal digestibility of the particular amino acids. Experience shows that this may result in the feed conversion being 5% increased.

Enzymes utilize the feed better

Wheat and barley contains some carbohydrates (xylanes), which pigs are incapable of utilizing. By adding xylanase the digestibility of the feed is increased, thus resulting in an improved feed conversion. Tests have shown that 0.05 - 0.10 kg feed per kg gain is to be achieved by means of enzymes.

Naturally, the proper feed formulation is essential. If the amino acid profile is not correct, it will result in poor productivity - including reduced feed conversion.

Good management is important
Many pig producers wash and disinfect the housing units after each batch of pigs. It is very important that the units are completely dry prior to new pigs being penned. If this is not the case the pigs will use energy and thus feedstuff in order to dry out the units. That is far too expensive.

It is also relevant to give attention to feed waste - especially in terms of ad lib feeding dispensers. Frequent adjustments in order to avoid waste are a necessity.

Focus on economy

Feed expenses make up for a great deal of the expenditure in pig production. This means that proper feed conversion is to be given the utmost attention. The feed saved is directly reflected on the financial bottom line, and regardless of the economy in the pig production is good or poor, this field should be a first priority.
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