You can’t manage what you don’t measure

Livestock farming or is a complex and multi-faceted industry that requires careful attention to various metrics in order to maximize profits. One of the most important metrics to track is feed conversion ratio (FCR), which is a measure of how efficiently an animal converts feed into weight gain. In this article, we will explore the significance of FCR in livestock farming, the methods for tracking it, and the importance of breeding livestock with high FCR traits.

What is Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR)?

Feed Conversion Ratio is the amount of feed an animal needs to consume in order to produce a certain amount of weight gain. In other words, it measures the efficiency with which feed is converted into growth. The lower the FCR, the more efficiently the animal is using its feed, which means that the farmer is spending less money on feed for each pound of weight gain. This is why FCR is considered to be the most critical metric for livestock farmers, as it can have a significant impact on their bottom line.

Tracking FCR

To track FCR, farmers need to accurately measure both the amount of feed an animal consumes and its weight gain. This information can then be used to calculate the FCR by dividing the total feed intake by the weight gain. It is important to note that FCR is not a fixed value, but rather a dynamic metric that can change over time based on various factors such as the animal’s age, breed, health, and the type of feed being consumed. As a result, it is important to regularly monitor FCR and adjust feeding practices as well as recording processes as necessary to maintain high FCRs and accurate records.

Breeding Livestock with High FCR Traits

Another way to maximize profits through feed conversion ratios is by breeding livestock with high FCR traits. Livestock with a high FCR are typically genetically predisposed to be more efficient at converting feed into weight gain, which means that ranchers can reduce their feed costs while still achieving high levels of weight gain. This can be done through the use of selective breeding programs that aim to improve FCR in the herd over time. Additionally, ranchers can also select animals with high FCRs to use as breeding stock, which can help to pass on these traits to future generations.

One important factor to consider when selecting animals for breeding based on their FCR is that other factors may also impact weight gains, such as genetics, health, parasite load, and feed quality. As a result, it is important to monitor FCR alongside other metrics such as average daily gain (ADG) and parasite resistance (PR), in order to make informed breeding decisions.


In conclusion, feed conversion ratio is a critical metric for livestock farmers and ranchers, as it can have a significant impact on their bottom line. By tracking FCR, farmers can gain valuable insights into the efficiency with which feed type is being converted into the weight gain, see which animals are the best performing, and make adjustments as necessary to maximize profits. Additionally, by breeding livestock with high FCR traits, farmers can improve the efficiency of their herd over time, leading to reduced feed costs and increased weight gain across their operations. Overall, a scientific approach to FCR can help farmers to maximize their profits and improve the health and well-being of their livestock.

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