Pig producer increases piglet survival by 2.5 percentage points

Foto af David Rosted

After a change in our breeding goal last summer, where two new traits for piglet survival were included, the results have already manifested in the production herds. Jesper Tambour, a pig producer from Denmark, is delighted to produce even more vital piglets, as this results in easier care and increased survival.



There is no doubt that breeding for higher piglet survival contributes positively to pig production. Strong, vital piglets contribute to greater animal welfare, easier care, and increased efficiency in your production. The new traits for piglet survival in our breeding goal include the piglet’s own genetic potential to survive, and this plays a crucial role in how effective this new trait will be. Production herds in Denmark can already see the improved piglet survival, and we expect the same remarkable improvement worldwide.



Greater job satisfaction

One of the farmers who has noticed a difference in the farrowing unit is pig producer Jesper Tambour from Guldborg in Denmark, where they have 1,070 sows and sell the pigs at weaning. From the beginning of February until May this year, they have noticed a significant improvement in piglet survival. In actual results, piglet survival has increased from 87.5 % to 90 % in those months.


We see that the piglets are quicker to find the teat after birth, and that there are fewer piglets that need support from us to survive the first days in the farrowing unit,” says Jesper Tambour and adds: “Both results and job satisfaction have improved because of the pigs getting even more robust.



Management is essential

A high survival rate among piglets cannot be achieved by genetics alone. It also requires good management and focus on the sow’s ability to care for her piglets. They value this highly in Jesper Tambour’s herd.


We have a special focus on the sow’s milk yield by paying attention to what we feed our sows,” he says.



The effect is lasting

The focus of our changed breeding goal is to improve both the sow’s and the piglet’s genetic level of piglet survival.


Last year, we chose to change the breeding goal with new traits that put even more pressure on piglet survival. What we expect to see the effect of now is especially that the piglet’s own genetic potential manifests. This has given the overall breeding goal more focus on robustness, which benefits the piglets,” says Tage Ostersen, Head of Department in Breeding & Genetics, Danish Agriculture & Food Council.


Tage Ostersen also points out that breeding will ensure continued favourable development in the coming years, although, at a slightly more moderate pace in the longer term.


So, while we can be pleased with the good results now, we can also be pleased that they will be permanent.



More robustness in the breeding goal
Last year, the DanBred breeding goal was updated with three new traits:
  • The piglet’s own genetic potential for survival
  • The sow’s genetic potential to make sure her piglets survive
  • Litter size, which is the sow’s genetic potential for reproduction 



Photo by David Rosted.



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