Selection of DanBred gilts during the rearing period is key to ensure that the animals used in pig production have the highest possible levels of health and animal welfare. All animals must live up to the high expectations and standards set for DanBred breeding animals.
“A good selection is one of our most important tools to ensure the high quality and longevity of the breeding animals that customers receive from DanBred,” says Tanja Jensen, DanBred Selection Manager.
She heads a team of experts focusing on the selected animals’ quality – from education and certification of selectors through selection in breeding and multiplication herds to the last check-up in airports and export stables, etc.
“The quality parameters used to select the animals can be divided into two overall groups: Health and exterior,” says Tanja Jensen.
In relation to health, the animals are selected based on tail bites or ear lesions, treatment for worms or parasites, and the absence of congenital tremor and hernia. Animals with these parameters are deselected immediately, whereas a few other health parameters like pressure knots on front and rear legs are evaluated from case to case.
When it comes to the exterior, the focus is on uneven hooves, weak pasterns, poor walk and back posture, and wrong leg positions, e.g. inflexible, stiff or curved legs and projected, narrow or un-aligned front and hind legs. It is a long list, but all these parameters are essential to achieve maximum animal welfare and health.
Sharing knowledge and experiences
“Our selection team visits many herds, and we are always ready with guidance if there is an unexploited potential or specific challenges,” says Tanja Jensen.
In addition to the personal assistance, the team also shares its substantial experience in a new handy selection manual, which is available in a series of languages relevant for most farm employees. The manual is a practical tool, which can be used directly in the pen to select the best gilts for both sale and Nucleus Management.
“We also hold selection courses for the employees in the suppliers’ herds, where we combine theory and practice to show what the animals should look like,” says Tanja Jensen. “The certified selectors help ensure that all animals sold in the DanBred system have the same high, uniform quality. We continuously strive to produce the optimal breeding animals, and if the customers have specific requirements, we do our utmost to meet them.”
DanBred’s selection manual is a practical production tool to select the gilts with the best longevity and quality.
Quality is also about data and knowledge
The concept of quality is, however, not only limited to the selection. It also covers the information and service related to the animals and the production. DanBred Partner Services handles these areas and offers expert advice and quick assistance on a daily basis.
“For instance, Partner Service helps with practical challenges like submitting data correctly to the data bank or ordering ear tags,” says Trine Lund Pedersen, Head of Technical Services at DanBred, and continues: “This ensures a correct index calculation and reliable data.”
Furthermore, Partner Service offers knowledge about management in the pen and can help optimise production flow and procedures, which increases the profits of DanBred’s genetics. Put briefly, it is growth through knowledge, which is a natural continuation of the great quality assurance work carried out in the R&D department, by the selection team, and among DanBred’s producers.
DanBred Partner Service offers professional guidance and expert advice on a daily basis.