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Genetic selection for improved pre-weaning survival of piglets - LS3103

The researchers propose to work with two pig breeding companies; Sygen International (formerly PIC)and JSR Genetics, to estimate genetic parameters for the different causes of piglet deaths including the respective direct and indirect contributions of the sow and the boar to the different causes of mortality. They will, through genetic analysis, identify sow and boar families with variation in their genetic predisposition to crush piglets when farrowed in crates on nucleus units. They will then apply structured breeding progammes in both indoor (in co-operation with Sygen) and outdoor units (in co-operation with the Grampian Country Food Group; GCFG), in order to demonstrate that families with genetic merit for piglet survival identified at the nucleus level, express this trait at the commercial level in both crate and non-crate systems. This will permit them to demonstrate whether crushing of piglets in crate and non-crate farrowing environments is amenable to genetic manipulation, to develop a measure of rearing success for use in pig breeding and derive an appropriate index for its application in practice.
The ultimate aim will be to develop industry relevant knowledge transfer to improve piglet survival in both crate and non-crate systems. Identification of a genetic route to reduce piglet mortality will yield benefits immediately applicable to all sectors of the UK industry, irrespective of current farrowing system, and will facilitate any future move towards non-crate systems.
Project Documents
• Executive Summary : Genetic selection for improved pre-weaning survival of piglets   (34k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2007

Cost: £627,118
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Newcastle, University - Scottish Agricultural College
Animal Production              
Animal Welfare              
Biotech-non GM              
Birth Weight              
Livestock Farming              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study