Poultry farming has created employment opportunities for farmers in our country but optimizing feed efficiency is crucial to maintain farm profitability, especially in the current volatile and competitive market. The production and consumption of broiler meat have increased almost 1.5-fold over the past 5 years because it is the cheapest source of animal protein compared to beef and mutton. There are about 200 feed mills that produce commercial feed to over 70,000 commercial layer & broiler farms (http://wpsa-bb.com/poultry-at-a-glance/, BAB). As per the report of Prof. SD Chowdhury of BAU, there are 3 categories of farms in operation in this country: small (up to 3000 birds), medium (above 3000 to 20,000 birds) and large farms (above 20,000 birds). However, about 50% of broiler farmers are smallholders and still, they play a substantial role in broiler production in our country. These farmers sometimes do not achieve expected growth and incur a loss due to the lack of appropriate management and poor FCR.
Importance of the FCR in Poultry Production
The smallholder farmers in our country sometimes use poor quality feed, which often results in higher FCR and an increase in the production cost. Depending on the breed concerned, feed cost is about 60% to 70% of the total production cost. The feed conversion ratio (FCR) is the amount of feed consumed by an animal which can be converted into one kilo of live weight. The Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) varies depending on the nutrition contents of the feed, the type of breed/strain, age of the bird and other management factors. With the increasing feed prices, it has become imperative to develop tactics to control feed wastage, reduced feed cost and improved FCR.
The FCR and its Economic Impact
Improving feed efficiency is usually associated with improved profitability. Mistakes during the feed manufacturing process (such as low-quality raw materials, incorrect nutritional values, improper & inadequate mixing etc.) can lead to reducing the quality of feed. The FCR for broilers has improved substantially over the last 20 years. However, currently the FCR of different broiler strains in our country vary from 1.5 to 1.7 (Islam et al., 2019 and field data) at 30/32 days, which is comparatively higher than the standard FCR of 1.42-1.46. The smaller the FCR, the better the efficiency of feed conversion. Small changes in the FCR at any given feed price will have a substantial impact on financial margins. Therefore, using the quality feed along with good management practice is crucial to improve the FCR and ultimately the profit of the farm.
Dr. Md. A. Saleque
Chief Technical Advisor
ACI Animal Health