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One of my first experiences as a field nutritionist was a long discussion with a colleague who was trying to transfer British technology into his home country. The feed formulas he was trying to bring in were based on wheat, but all he had was corn, and it was becoming cost-prohibitive to import wheat. I tried to explain that the British formulas were based on wheat because wheat is the major cereal in Great Britain, and, of course, there was nothing wrong adapting the formulas to use corn if corn was all he could afford. As it happened, he ended up importing wheat, of apparently low quality, and the formulas did not work. He gave up still believing those formulas were no good!
We should adapt our methods and expectations to correspond to what is feasible here and now and not what is achieved elsewhere.
Similar attitudes are found among producers who read performance records from one country and try to achieve similar results under their own conditions. A very recent example is a discussion I had with a pig producer who believes he should be getting 30 pigs per sow, like some farms in Denmark. Again, in vain, I tried to convince him that these results could not be copied and pasted because we would need to copy and paste the whole Danish model.
I have always been positive in trying to improve something (that can be improved), and for that there is no better guidance than success encountered in our circles. But we should be realistic in our expectations based on our conditions; in other words, we should adapt our methods and expectations to correspond to what is feasible here and now and not what is achieved elsewhere.
As Louis L’ Amour taught me early on: there will always be a faster gun in the West.