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Piglet Protocol Gives Insight into Dam Performance and Vitality

by 5m Editor
6 December 2007, at 12:03pm

NETHERLANDS - Piglet vitality and mothering abilities are two key items in the TOPIGS breeding programme.

The piglet weighing protocol is a new element which makes it possible to achieve substantial progress for these two traits by breeding more vital piglets and by breeding better sows that produce uniform litters which the sows are capable of weaning.

With the piglet weighing/vitality protocol, piglets born at nucleus farms are weighed at birth. An exact registration of piglet mortality, cross-fostering and other factors also takes place. This makes it possible to determine the mothering abilities of sows and the vitality of piglets so that these can be implemented in the breeding goal.

Some 45 TOPIGS nucleus farms in the Netherlands have implemented the piglet weighing/protocol. This means that in 2008, data will be collected from more than 31,000 litters. Outside the Netherlands the protocol will be applied to more than 5000 litters.

Extra breeding at the nucleus level is another initiative in the TOPIGS breeding programme to achieve more genetic progress. More pure line matings will take place to create extra selection possibilities at the nucleus level.