With feed accounting for the major cost of pig production — over 70 per cent in some countries — the relationship between feed usage and productivity was highlighted at an international conference in Segovia, Spain.While Spain had the third highest feed costs in a group of selected countries, quoting figures for feed costs per pig produced per year were meaningless due to the feed price variation. “It is better to compare feed consumed per kg of growth (FCR) for this purpose,” Ed Sutcliffe, geneticist and technical director of ACMC Ltd, told the gathering organised by Proyecse Planstar Porcino, a company providing planning and building services.He outlined the relationships between sow feed intake and productivity. In a herd selling 25 pigs per sow per year where sows’ annual feed intake averaged 1125 kg, the ‘feed overhead’ per piglet would be 45 kg. If the herd sold 28 pigs per sow a year but sow feed intake increased to 1350 kg annually then the ‘feed overhead’ increased to 48.2 kg. However, if sow feed intake was kept at 1125 kg and number of pigs sold was maintained at 28, the ‘feed overhead’ reduced to just 40.2 kg“This is the equivalent to a 0.032 improvement in total herd FCR for a pig to 100 kg,” said Mr Sutcliffe.“So what is 0.032 better FCR worth per pig sold?” he asked. “Based on a growth period to 100 kg this would be the equivalent to 0.82 Euros or 1.79 Euros per pig, depending upon whether less feed was consumed or more growth was achieved. This amounted to 10,250 Euros or 22,375 Euros for a 500-sow unit,” he pointed out.