There has been a long running interest in how feed intake and feed efficiency should be taken into account in breeding decisions. Initially the interest in feed intake was in trying to reduce the amount of feed required per unit of production, i.e. improving feed efficiency. More recently interest has shifted towards the role of feed intake and its relationship with energy balance, health, and fertility, i.e. robustness of animals. The similarity between selection for feed efficiency (FE) and selection for energy balance (EB) is discussed first. Secondly, nuisance factors that may suggest genetic variation in feed utilisation (FU) and other biological sources of variation are reviewed. Finally, evidence is reviewed for an association between selection for (parts of) the FU complex and reproductive performance. 

Roel F Veerkamp

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 10, , 10.01, 2002
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