Swine Feed Efficiency: Not Always Linked to Net Income

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2012-01-01
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Patience, John
Professor Emeritus of Animal Science
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Iowa Pork Industry Center
The Iowa Pork Industry Center was established in 1994 as a coordinated effort of the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University. Through partnerships with the IPIC, pork producers receive accurate and timely information to aid in making their operations more efficient and profitable. We provide a variety of educational and informational opportunities for producers and the Iowa pork industry, ranging from issue focused workshops to large multi-topic events like Iowa State’s annual Iowa Swine Day. We work in partnership with commodity organizations, private industry and commercial businesses to deliver appropriate, timely and accurate resources. The IPIC efforts are linked with the activities and programs of the ISU Extension and Outreach campus and field staff members, partnering on a variety of outreach opportunities. Swine specialists and faculty are available for discussion and consultation purposes in person, by phone and email. See our people page for individual contact information.
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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.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2012
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