Feed efficiency was ranked as the fifth most important trait in the Ovita Traits Prioritisation process. It was ranked as the second most economically important trait, behind meat yield. Improving feed efficiency can result in a higher stocking rate and correspondingly an increase in per hectare production. It has been estimated that a 10% improvement in feed efficiency results in a 10% increase in stocking rate, which equates to a $130.4 million benefit to the industry.
Ovita is not currently undertaking any direct research on feed efficiency, however, it is researching adult liveweight. One way of increasing overall feed efficiency is to lower adult liveweights. Lighter sheep that eat less while still producing the same amount of saleable product as heavier sheep, are converting feed more efficiently.
It is a long term goal to produce GBVs for feed efficiency in 2015.
There are currently no specific genetic tests for feed efficiency.