The transition from balanced to sustainable breeding has already begun. This is an overarching focus in our pig breeding program, but the benefits can be viewed up close on a product level. Of course, the Hypor Libra provides great economic value, but her traits can also be appreciated for their contribution to social and environmental sustainability. Find out more about the most sustainable sow in the industry.
The Hypor Libra is bred to be a productive and efficient mother. One way to classify this is through superior stayability, meaning that the sow should remain productive in the herd long enough to wean at least three litters. For our customers, 75% of Hypor Libra gilts achieve this retention rate to parity 3. The average score is at parity 5. For customers working with tight economic margins, finding the extra added value can make a huge difference in the resulting profit.
Stayability is also a function of the foot and leg structure. In the industry, lameness is one of the top reasons for culling sows, so strong feet and legs are critical. Hendrix Genetics is the only global genetic company to fully group house their dam line nucleus females during gestation, which inherently selects animals with good feet and legs. Another aspect of stayability is sow mortality, which is becoming an increasing concern in the industry. Our customers see at least a 2% advantage on sow survival compared to the industry average.
The Hypor Libra can easily wean her own piglets. This might seem like a given, but if a sow does not have sufficient teats for each piglet, they are at a disadvantage in growing healthy and strong. Our sow is bred for 16 functional teats. In total we breed for 16 total born, 15 born alive, and 14 weaned. With this standard, each piglet can receive the required amount of colostrum, a positive indicator of healthy weight gain and survival.
When strong, healthy animals are in your herd, every resource is fully utilized to reach her full reproductive potential. Selecting for sows that will be efficient in raising their piglets is nothing new from an economic perspective, but an added layer of value is the benefits for environmental and social sustainability.
Quality piglets right from the start
It is well documented that piglets with a heavier birth weight have a higher chance of survival and becoming a full value finisher, all in fewer days. By measuring individual piglet birth weights, we can select sows that consistently produce litters of piglets with heavy birth weights. Our Hypor Libra produces piglets with an average birth weight of 1.5 kg/3.3 lbs. with 90% weighing more than 1 kg/2.2 lbs. These heavy piglets are more likely to consume enough colostrum, survive to weaning with greater weights, and become full value finishers in fewer days.
Working alongside heavy birth weights, the uniformity (or lack of variation) in the weight of piglets is also a critical part of the equation. Uniform litters also mean fewer light weight pigs and even competition for teats. More uniform, heavy piglets lead to overall improved livability. Apart from the clear economic advantage to heavier birth weights, there is also a social component. Heavier piglets are stronger from birth and more likely to survive, leading to overall improved animal welfare.
Valuable finishers offer big advantages
We recognize that the sow is 50% of the market hog. For that reason, balance between traits is crucial. The result is a sow that is efficient in producing and weaning piglets that grow fast in a feed efficient way. An emphasis on more full value finishers has positive implications for environmental and social sustainability.
By focusing on the uniformity of growth on the dam lines, the Hypor Libra produces finishers that start and end at similar weights. This can decrease the time of your shipping window, or even the number of shipments when pigs are more uniform. Uniform pigs are also beneficial from an animal welfare perspective. The pigs are less likely to compete when there are minimal physical differences in the group, leading to a more comfortable environment for them to thrive.
The importance of heavy birth weight and excellent weaning capacity influence performance throughout life. When piglets are given a good start, there is a high likelihood that more pigs will hit all the required targets to become a full value finisher.
The Hypor Libra demonstrates sustainability from every angle. The balance between the sow’s prolificacy and reproductive efficiency results in a high number of uniform piglets during her lifetime. And this is all without compromising her ability to produce the next litter. The performance of the Hypor Libra delivers the best value for our customers, and it is just one example of our goal to set the standard in sustainable swine breeding.