DanBred recently increased its performance testing capacity by 25 % on boar testing station Bøgildgård, which means that more than 7,500 boars are now being tested for individual feed efficiency annually. This higher capacity leads to an increase in genetic gain in feed conversion ratio (FCR) by an additional 10 %. Feed efficiency is the most economically important trait for pig producers worldwide, and DanBred has documented genetic gains for this particular trait through the decades.
Years of experience
At the boar testing station, future DanBred AI-boars are tested for their genetic potential for feed efficiency and all other economically important production traits. Individual feed consumption has been recorded electronically since 1992.
A few years ago, Bøgildgård was modernized, and 128 Schauer Advanced Computerized Feeding Stations replaced the first model. More than 135,000 DanBred Landrace, DanBred Yorkshire, and DanBred Duroc boars have been performance tested at Bøgildgård for individual feed consumption. The feeding stations collect data on each boar’s feed intake during the testing period, and from this data a DanBred sub-index for FCR is calculated on a weekly basis. This is weighted into a DanBred index together with all the sub-indexes for the other traits included in the DanBred breeding goal. Based on these indexes, the next generation of boars and gilts are selected.
An extra €0,71 per DanBred finisher pig
During the last decade, DanBred’s selection for improved FCR has resulted in -0,036 kg feed/kg in genetic gain, and last year this figure decreased even more to -0,041, which equals €0,71 per DanBred finisher. This extra beneficial drop is mainly related to DanBred’s implementation of 100 % genomic selection in 2017, which means that more than 105,000 DanBred purebred animals are sampled and DNA-tested annually.
“-0,036 kg feed/kg gain is a highly satisfactory genetic gain,” says Helle Palmø, Chief Geneticist at DanBred. “Keep in mind that during the last decade, slaughter weight has increased at the same time by ½ – ¾ kg annually, which partly blurs the result. Feed efficiency decreases when slaughter weight increases”.
Helle Palmø continues; “DanBred’s breeding program is based on large breeding populations, professional nucleus breeders, and a highly advanced boar testing station. Altogether, this gives the optimal conditions for the best outcome of the breeding, and it paves the way for great results in genetic gain, where high quantity and quality data are among the key input factors”.
Successful genetic gain in growth makes space for extra capacity for individual feed testing
The increase in testing capacity is due to continuous genetic gain in DanBred boars’ daily gain. Due to faster growth, DanBred’s boars now spend 10 days less at the test station, compared to 20 years ago.
Martin Mølgaard Pedersen (DanBred R&D), explains more about extended capacity, feed recordings, and high-quality data recording in the video below.