Swine Feed Efficiency: Not Always Linked to Net Income
Dr. Steve Pollman, President of Western Operations for Murphy Brown LLC, advised attendees at the 2011 International Conference on Feed Efficiency in Omaha, NE that feed efficiency is a useful metric in pork production but it is a poor driver for decision making. He was making the point that feed efficiency numbers can be influenced by so many factors that interpreting them can be difficult and that there is a great risk in over-simplifying the many things in the barn that can alter feed efficiency. Furthermore, the best feed efficiency is not necessarily going to lead to the highest net income.
This is not to say that feed efficiency is not important. The value of 1 feed conversion point varies between 30 and 50 cents. At an average feed cost of $350/ton, it is worth 46 cents per pig. As feed cost changes, so too does the economic value of feed efficiency. All other factors being equal, the best feed efficiency may lead to the best net income, but as we all know, when we compare one pig barn with another, or even compare one closeout versus another in the same barn, many factors are not equal.