More breeding pigs ensures more breeding progress

The number of tested breeding pigs has increased considerably in our breeding herds over the past year. The increase means an even stronger breeding index for production herds with DanBred genetics.

120,000 pigs in one year. That’s how many 30-100 kg pigs have been through our testing during 2023. That’s 10,000 pigs more compared to the year before. Among other things, this is due to better management in the herds. In addition, the new trait for higher piglet survival in the breeding goal has had a positive effect on the number of piglets.

The increase shows that the herds are doing well. The breeders are skilled at what they do. And the large amount of animals helps ensure great results for the individual traits in the breeding goal,” says Martin Mølgaard Pedersen, Head of Department in Breeding & Genetics, Danish Agriculture & Food Council.

The increase in animals tested means more precise data, and this has accelerated the breeding progress. Compared to 2018, DanBred breeding pigs in 2023 have an average of 0.8 % higher meat percentage, grow 76 g more per day, and use 0.14 kg less feed per kg growth.

Ensures good investment

In the past, it has been necessary to sanitise some of the herds because they were affected by PRRS or other diseases, which meant that the pigs could not be used for breeding. But in 2023, none of DanBred’s breeding herds have been affected by disease.

We have benefitted a lot from the fact that there has been less diseased pigs at the breeders. We can therefore increase the certainty of the figure for breeding values and thus the index of all animals in the population,” says Martin Mølgaard Pedersen.

In addition to increasing the certainty of the basis behind the breeding traits, the greater number of animals tested also allows us to increase the intensity of selection in the breeds. The intensity of selection is increased by the fact that it is possible to find the very best candidates who jump the scale for the specific traits in our breeding goals.

Both the certainty of the breeding traits and the intensity of selection are important in order to achieve the greatest possible breeding progress for the investment that pig producers put into the breeding work,” he explains.

From breeder to Bøgildgård

An essential factor for DanBred’s breeding work is the testing station Bøgildgård. For 43 years, Bøgildgård has contributed to making the breeding work more efficient and ensuring the good finisher pig traits that DanBred genetic is known for.

The much larger number of breeding pigs also give more certain results from Bøgildgård. Here, we can measure feed intake on young boars and thus feed consumption per kg growth for the measured animals. We measure feed efficiency and feed intake with great accuracy on many boars annually,” says Martin Mølgaard Pedersen and adds:

Based on the correlations between feed consumption, growth rate, and meat percentage, we can extract knowledge about feed consumption in animals measured for growth and meat percentage in the testing at the breeding herds.

The data registered at Bøgildgård enters the DanBred Databank, where it is used to calculate the DanBred index and, thus, find the boars with the best genetics that are forwarded to the KS stations. With a test station like Bøgildgård, we can register and breed for the most important traits and accelerate the breeding progress in your herd. This has helped DanBred’s breeding system become one of the best in the world.