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Main research question/goal
Which practical and affordable measures and strategies can pig farmers use to know and improve the feed conversion ratio in the future? Ugent and ILVO researchers will answer this research question in the Vlevavc project. In pig farming, there is a remarkable discrepancy between the feed conversion ratio that can be obtained in an experimental research environment and the actual results that are observed in practice. The goal of this project is to map all factors which may affect the feed conversion ratio and to identify the critical factors. We also aim to a standardized calculation of the feed conversion ratio to avoid current misunderstandings. With the NIRS technique, calibrations are developed for feed and faeces to quickly assess the feeding value and the feed conversion ratio. The final objective is to develop a practical tool so that farmers, in collaboration with their farm advisors, are able to elaborate and implement a workable strategy on their farm.

Research approach
The approach of this project is participatory and hands-on. We work intensively in a fully confidential manner with a large number of farmers. We take surveys, sample feed and faeces, follow the production results in detail and try to unravel differences. After this analysis, we guide the required adjustments, which are monitored both economically and environmentally. With the NIRS calibrations we control the quality of the purchased pig feeds and their utilization efficiency.      

In the rearing of meat pigs, 60-70% of the costs is due to the feed. Therefore, estimating feed quality and utilization in an affordable and fast way is highly relevant. In the last decade the feed conversion ratio in Flanders stagnated at 2.94 kilo of feed per kg live weight. We expect that the improvement of the feed conversion ratio, through a standardized and affordable estimation of feed quality and conversion, will result in an economical profit and at the same time in a reduction of the environmental impact of the pig sector (decrease of nutrient emission).  

Funding provider(s)
IWT - Instituut voor de aanmoediging door wetenschap en technologie in Vlaanderen

External partner(s)
Ugent - Fac. Diergeneeskunde
Effective start/end date1/10/1630/09/20

ID: 4233585