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Feed Efficiency Key to Restoring Profitability

by 5m Editor
28 January 2011, at 9:21am

CANADA - The director of research and development and quality affairs with Nutreco says, in an effort to restore profitability and reduce the environmental impact of their operations, pork producers are placing a much greater emphasis on feed efficiency, Bruce Cochrane writes.

"The future of Animal Feeding: Towards Sustainable Precision Farming" was among the topics discussed last week as part of the Banff Pork Seminar.

Leo den Hartog, the director of research and Development and Quality Affairs with Nutreco in the Netherlands, says with pork producers around the world facing hard times feed efficiency is back on the agenda.

Leo den Hartog-Nutreco

Producers are doing very well.

If you look to what has been reached in the last decade, there is a huge increase in the number of pigs per sow per year, an increase in rate of gain and a reduction in feed conversion ratio.

I think, when we look on a global level, we do not use the full potential of the pig.

I think we only use 60 per cent, mainly due to sub-clinical infections and sub-optimal climate.

We know that feed cost is more than 60 per cent of the cost on a farm.

You see feed is very important and it's not only for maximizing production or optimizing production but also for reducing excretions, emissions.

There is in a lot of places where you want to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus and ammonia emission and therefore efficiency is back on the agenda.

I think when we look to Europe for example in the last decade there was a lot of discussion on environment, on antibiotics, on welfare and not so much on productivity.

You see now it's back on track even with the NGOs in order to reduce emissions and for the farmer to increase his income and profitability.


Mr Den Hartog says because of differences among farms and among pigs feed management will differ from farm to farm but, with feed accounting for 60 per cent of the cost of producing pork, there should be a strong focus on feed.

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