Feed efficiency improved more on feeder-to-finish hog operations

A line chart showing the conversion rates for hog opperations.

The average quantity of feed required per hundredweight of gain declined 44 percent for feeder-to-finish hog operations between 1992 and 2004. Most feeder-to-finish operations operate under production contracts. Contractors typically bear the cost of supplying feeder pigs and feed to the farming operation, so they may invest in genetic improvements in the animals and improved feed formulations to reduce their costs. And since contracts allow farmers to specialize in the grow-out phase of the production process, they have more often adopted practices that further increase feed efficiency, such as grouping pigs by age and weight so feed rations can be formulated for each pig's specific needs. In contrast, the average feed conversion rate on farrow-to-finish hog operations-which are less likely to have production contracts and are less specialized-declined by only 15 percent in 1992-2004. This chart is found in the December 2011 issue of Amber Waves magazine.

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