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What affects Feed Conversion Ratio?

June 1, 2015

“More careful monitoring of the factors affecting FCR and means of improving will lead to better yield in harvest.”



Feed Conversion ratio is the reflection of the animal’s performance in gaining desirable output. Feed intake and weight gain are important components but what influences these factors is more complex. In the case of pigs’ FCR, it mainly depends to the quality of feed, but its performance within the herd varies widely.

According to studies, between 60 to 80 percent of the cost of the production goes to the feed and typically two to three kilogram of feed result in a kilogram of body weight (Mike Varley, 2009). The closer the FCR to this or much closer to two is better, indicating that feed consumption is lower consequently with feed cost. More careful monitoring of the factors affecting FCR and means of improving it will lead to better yield in harvest

Factors affecting Feed Conversion ratio:

Genetics: According to studies, 30 percent of success in livestock production depends on the genetic potential of the pig. Converting feed into body weight vary among pigs depending on what filial generation they came from. Pigs produced from parents with related traits often have low performance and production compared to parents with distinct traits. Normally, crossbreeding from purebreed pigs is done to achieve good characteristics. The most popular used in production is the triple cross pigs, an offspring from F1 sows. These pigs have a faster growth rate, thrifty to feed and has a good quality of carcass meat.

Age: Another determinant of FCR is the age. Piglets grow faster than older pigs. This is common to all animals where the growth and development phase happens during a younger age. At a younger age, the piglet’s primary saource of food is milk as an essential nutrient for developing muscle and bone

Milk is also incorporated in the feeds until their pre-starter stage to optimize their growth performance. Almost 80 percent of water in milk is converted into body weight (Mike Varley, 2009). With this information, farmers can increase their profit by selling or processing the pigs before reaching adult age.

Feed Quality: Conversion of high quality feeds into weight gain is absolutely important especially when feed cost is high. Pigs that are fed a diet that meet their nutritional requirements will definitely have low FCR. The nutritional requirement of pigs varies

with their ages from booster until finisher stage. Solid diets normally start at pre starter stage ranging from 420 to 450 grams per day. Essential nutrients like high crude protein and fat in feed formulation are important during growing stage. Shifting feed to poor quality diets may not be economical as feed usage would be higher which turn into high FCR and may result to a poor carcass meat.

Feeds with probiotics and organic acids control microflora in the gut to boost growth preformance. 

Health and Management: Another factor that may affect FCR are health and management practice. This has to do with welfare of pigs. Improper management may cause stress and sickness to pigs that can lead to loss in appetite and low weight gain. Providing shelter that mimics their natural environment may result to a healthier pig. Health of the pig is also related to its gut. Controlling of microflora in the gut may foster nutrient absorption. This was deduced when feed additives such as organic acids and Probiotic microorganisms are introduced as substitutes for antibiotics. Antibiotics are used in many feeds to control microflora in the gut but can cause antibiotic resistance in the gut microflora. This immunity of gut microflora can lead to a higher FCR.


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