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News 614 views last update:May 13, 2008

Pig and Poultry Fair shows superior stock

The British Pig and Poultry Fair, to be held in Stoneleigh Park near Coventry, will kick off tomorrow. About 8,000 visitors are expected to meet up with over 250 exhibitors.

With sustained high feed prices continuing to put producers under pressure, pig-breeding company ACMC will be demonstrating at the fair how the use of genetically-superior stock can reduce production costs.

Unique testing
The company claims to be unique in the way it tests its pigs - individually testing both sire and dam lines - rather than simply the male side - using the sophisticated FIRE (Feed Intake Recording Equipment) system.

"Although expensive, this system has a considerable impact on the speed of genetic improvement," commented Ed Sutcliffe, the company's technical director.

"This selection method of incorporating feed recording can improve overall accuracy of selection by 10%, but when you look at the response of individual traits, it can increase the rate of improvement of feed conversion rate by as much as 60%."

Improvement
Taking into account the improvement seen in both sire and dam lines, over ten years this has led to a 0.293 improvement in feed conversion ratio resulting in the average slaughter pig consuming more than 25 kg less feed to 94 kg liveweight.

The savings in the individual lines are even greater, he pointed out.

These figures take account of the reduced feed needed for maintenance, but not the simultaneous improvement in growth rate, which allows for increased piggery throughput, also cutting costs.

Significance
"The significance of genetic improvements is that they are 'locked in' to the breeding stock's make-up so producers can continue to benefit from them," said Sutcliffe.

"Recording feed on dam lines is as important as doing so on sire lines as they contribute just as much to the makeup of the slaughter pig. With high feed prices it is no longer sufficient for dam lines to simply rear high numbers, they must also be efficient pigs to finish," he added.

Related websites:
• ACMC 
• British Pig and Poultry Fair 

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