Podcast: Growth models – margin over feed cost versus FCR

Podcast: Growth models – margin over feed cost versus FCR

In this 59th episode of the Real P3 podcast, Dr Casey Bradley speaks to Chantel Pennicott to talk about utilising data – big data, machine learning, modelling. What does this mean, and how can we use data to our advantage?

The Real P3 podcast series is an initiative where pork professionals from around the globe share their thoughts, insights, and solutions to their day-to-day challenges in the pig farming and production industry.

Pennicott, who achieved her masters in pig simulation modelling and nutrition, lives in South Africa. She is currently the research and piggery technical advisor at the Baynesfield Swine Research Unit.

Bradley and Pennicott begin the conversation by answering the question: Is modelling the right approach to mitigating risk in the swine industry? Pennicott speaks about the importance of the right inputs into a model and determining the right objectives for a particular farm. She also shares what she believes is the best objective to predict the profitability of a farm, adding that feed efficiency or the highest gains may not bring the highest profit.

Pig model – maximum differs from optimum

Pennicott’s master’s degree was based on validating the EFG pig model and optimiser. She shares how the model works, including how the model predicts what the pigs are going to eat, and how it describes the pig’s genetics, feed and the environment, all of which lead to a prediction of the carcass or the amount of nitrogen in the faeces. She also explains how the model can be reversed and emphasises how ‘maximum’ greatly differs from ‘optimum’.


Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist