It is economically beneficial for you to improve survival throughout the pig’s lifetime. Naturally, more robust pigs will also increase the general welfare. Therefore, DanBred’s breeding goals will have an even greater focus on survival in the weaners, sows and, not least, finisher pigs in the coming years.
By including ‘weaner and finisher pig survival’ as a trait in our breeding goal, we hope to contribute to even more pigs being sent to the slaughterhouse. In collaboration with Aarhus University, the Breeding & Genetics department at Danish Agriculture & Food Council has found heredity for better survival throughout the pig’s lifetime.
Improved health and robustness
“With the trait ‘weaner and finisher pig survival’, we can minimise hereditary problems. That could be correct conformation, less diseases, and a boost of the immune system, so the pig becomes more robust for infectious diseases,” says Tage Ostersen, Head of Department at Breeding & Genetics at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.
Better economy in more survival
In terms of resources and economy, there are a lot of benefits to be gained from this new breeding goal. Among other things, the trait will contribute to fewer deaths among finisher pigs who have already consumed feed, occupied space in the stables etc. This means better utilisation of resources, less waste, and, ultimately, a better economy for you as a pig producer. If survival for weaners and finisher pigs is improved by just one percentage point, you can improve the total economy of your herd with EUR 0.6 per finisher pig.
“We’re looking into a really exciting potential for survival in weaners and finisher pigs, as this economic value is high,” says Tage Ostersen.
Lower mortality after weaning
‘Weaner and finisher pig survival’ as a trait faces different challenges than for example piglet survival. This is partly due to the fact that the survival rate is better after weaning compared to before weaning.
“The project with this trait started in January 2021 and ended in December 2022. Together with Aarhus University, we have collected data where the pig is followed through different housing sections and production stages,” Tage Ostersen explains and continues: “We will continue to work on weaner and finisher pig survival in the next few years to pave the way for including it in the breeding goal. It is expected that the trait will become part of DanBred’s breeding goal by the end of 2024. With the new trait, we will be able to improve the health and animal welfare of Danish production pigs as well as improve the economic benefits for the pig producer.”
Weaner and finisher pig survival