Improving performance through selective breeding is a key priority for the New Zealand Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) aquaculture industry. The family selective breeding programme operated by The New Zealand King Salmon Company has successfully improved growth and quality after six generations of selection. However, feed conversion efficiency is not currently a direct breeding goal. Research was established to analyse daily feed intake and feed conversion ratio, a measure of feed efficiency, in 160 families over two spawning year classes. Daily feed intake assessment methodology employing digital X-radiography was validated and used to obtain repeated measurements of daily feed intake. Measurements of growth, and feed conversion ratio up to harvest size were also obtained. Genetic parameter estimates for daily feed intake and feed conversion ratio indicated that there are family differences for these traits. As a result the continued measurement of feed conversion ratio in The New Zealand King Salmon families and incorporation of the traits into The New Zealand King Salmon breeding programme is being considered.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 72, Christchurch, 227-230, 2012
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