Is the TN70 really a better mother?


– That’s a very questionable conclusion

For a while now, we have observed a number of articles has been generated based on a Danish study from 2017, which showed that the TN70 gilts from Topigs Norsvin are supposedly better mothers than DanBred Hybrid gilts.

The conclusions were made on the basis of an R&D-study conducted by Aarhus University; “Organic pig breeders can with benefit switch genetics”

(“Økologiske svineproducenter kan med fordel skifte genetik”).

Topigs Norsvin got so excited about the study, they concluded the TN70 was not only better for organic pig breeders, but that the results could also be transferred over into conventional pig breeding.

However, the R&D-study made its conclusions based on some very questionable statistical designs and methods:

  • It was conducted on a very small number of gilts. This gives random results
  • The TN70s were preselected based on number of teats, a low index for litter size and good mothering abilities, while DanBred gilts were randomly chosen
  • All TN70 gilts came from the same herd and there was a lack of information on the relationship between the TN70 gilts – if the study has no corrections for the relationship, it could cause favouring of the TN70
  • DanBred “excess” fully viable piglets were removed prior to the trial start, giving the DanBred gilts no chance to demonstrate their mothering abilities
  • The DanBred gilts and the TN70s were born and raised in two different environments, which makes it impossible to separate environment and genetics

If anyone wishes to compare genetics, we are always ready to participate. However, any comparison studies should be fair and unbiased, conducted using internationally recognised methods and well documented for all parties involved.

Please contact Helle Palmø, MSc, PhD, DanBred for further information by mail: or by calling +45 61332907.


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