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News last update:Feb 22, 2021

Boars, breeding and Biden in Pig Progress 1

The first 2021 edition of Pig Progress is now available online. Between the covers of this edition is an exploration of wild boar farming in Finland, a considered approach to breeding for robustness as a way forward, and a look towards the USA, where a new administration took office.

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ASFv mutation in China: What happens on-farm?

The 2019 ASF outbreaks in China resulted in losses of at least 40% of the country’s sow herd, but it also meant record prices and profits. The country is now on the rebound and new swine facilities are being built. But, there’s reason to believe that the epidemic is far from over… Read the article on pages 6-8.

Healthy finisher pigs on a farm in Jiangsu province, China. The farm is unrelated to the recent health issues. - Photo: Vincent ter Beek
Healthy finisher pigs on a farm in Jiangsu province, China. The farm is unrelated to the recent health issues. - Photo: Vincent ter Beek

Traditional pork taste that has stood the test of time

The EU PiG Innovation featured in this edition is the focus on meat quality and the union of the local Basque pork breed, land and men. Correspondent Natalie Berkhout reports on the innovation on page 9 where can be read about the work done by the ambassador, pig breeder and artisan producer, Pierre Oteiza, in France.

Pierre Oteiza wanted to be a part of the rebirth of the Basque pig breed. - Photo: Pierre Oteiza
Pierre Oteiza wanted to be a part of the rebirth of the Basque pig breed. - Photo: Pierre Oteiza

No historical data but fresh info from the barn

A new batch of pigs is typically managed based on historical data from previous batches. Could real-time data replace historic data, and might this approach be more valuable? On pages 10-11, Dr Katarina Nielsen Dominiak in Denmark discusses a trial that set out to answer these questions.

Danish finisher pigs on liquid feed in the trial. - Photo: Dr Katarina Nielsen Dominiak
Danish finisher pigs on liquid feed in the trial. - Photo: Dr Katarina Nielsen Dominiak

John Gadd: Pig expert and avid storyteller

Pig Progress editor Vincent ter Beek, describes long-standing contributor and columnist, John Gadd, as a “remarkable character, whose contributions reflected his many passions”. Sadly, John passed away in August 2020, and this article on pages 12-13 reflects on the journey that the magazine enjoyed with this well-known and highly respected pig expert.

British pig expert John Gadd loved to write - not only was he a regular columnist for Pig Progress, he also kept an illustrated diary for decades. - Photo: Adam Gray | SWNS.com
British pig expert John Gadd loved to write - not only was he a regular columnist for Pig Progress, he also kept an illustrated diary for decades. - Photo: Adam Gray | SWNS.com

Column: Are you deficient?

There have been many discussions and inquiries on vitamin deficiencies, says columnist and president of the Sunswine Group, Casey Bradley. On page 15, she talks about whyit is important to rethink what is truly optimal in our diets – what might’ve been optimal 2 years ago could be deficient tomorrow.

What innovations did EuroTier 2021 offer?

The 2021 edition of EuroTier was not held in November, nor was it held in Germany, nor were there halls to walk through and explore. The show did go on, however, it all took place on a virtual platform. On pages 16-17, Pig Progress editor, Vincent ter Beek, picks several highlights.

A concept developed to keep sows and piglets in groups from day 3 after birth was developed by Big Dutchman, together with customer Renke Specht, and unveiled at Eurotier 2021. – Photo: Big Dutchman
A concept developed to keep sows and piglets in groups from day 3 after birth was developed by Big Dutchman, together with customer Renke Specht, and unveiled at Eurotier 2021. – Photo: Big Dutchman

Farming wild boar in times of ASF

Wild boar are farmed in Finland, where their meat is considered a delicacy. Although the country is free from ASF, the virus has been detected in nearby Russia. Correspondent Matti Turtiainen visits Korpikarju Game Farm to discover how wild boar are farmed and protected. Read more on pages 18-20.

The 2ha Korpikarju Game Farm is home to about 150 wild boar and is surrounded by a steel mesh fence, which is just over 2m tall, with an electric fence. – Photo: Matti Turtiainen
The 2ha Korpikarju Game Farm is home to about 150 wild boar and is surrounded by a steel mesh fence, which is just over 2m tall, with an electric fence. – Photo: Matti Turtiainen

Breeding for robustness as the way forward

Breeding for robustness is the method of selecting individual pigs with improved response to a specific pathogen, or to several diseases. Pig Progress editor, Vincent ter Beek, discussed this concept with Dr Jenelle Dunkelberger, geneticist at Topigs Norsvin, to learn more. Read these insights on pages 22-23.

Robust animals, by definition, are less affected by a disease challenge, and therefore, require fewer antibiotics. - Photo: Topigs Norsvin | Maartje van Berkel
Robust animals, by definition, are less affected by a disease challenge, and therefore, require fewer antibiotics. - Photo: Topigs Norsvin | Maartje van Berkel

Balanced breeding can enhance sustainability

Genetic selection in pigs typically focuses on economically important traits. Balanced breeding programmes, however, increasingly include and improve societally important traits and contribute to improved animal welfare and reduced environmental impact. Read more on pages 24-25.

Balanced pig breeding programmes will contribute to more sustainable pig production systems. – Photo: Simon Meyer | Danish Genetics
Balanced pig breeding programmes will contribute to more sustainable pig production systems. – Photo: Simon Meyer | Danish Genetics

Pig farming under a new US administration

A new administration was installed in Washington, DC, on 20 January 2021. Biden’s selection for agriculture secretary is Tom Vilsack. The reaction from the US agriculture community – and beyond – has been both swift and negative. Read more on pages 26-27.

Tom Vilsack will head the USDA, which he headed during the Obama administration, and so he already has a reputation, which is considered dismal by many. – Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP/ANP
Tom Vilsack will head the USDA, which he headed during the Obama administration, and so he already has a reputation, which is considered dismal by many. – Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP/ANP

Tackling ileitis by boosting immunity

Performance trace minerals can assist the immune system, thereby helping swine producers reduce losses associated with clinical and subclinical ileitis. Pages28-29.

Finisher pigs may be helped by the use of trace minerals. - Photo: Mark Pasveer
Finisher pigs may be helped by the use of trace minerals. - Photo: Mark Pasveer

Carbohydrase and its impact on performance

An enzyme can help optimise feed usage, and multiple enzymes can reinforce each other. Phytases and carbohydrases are the most regularly added enzymes to pig diets. Read about using combinations of carbohydrases, the antinutritional impact of dietary fibre and sustainable improvements on pages 30-31.

Grow-finish pigs could benefit from a multi-enzyme complex as a dietary addition. - Photo: Twan Wiermans
Grow-finish pigs could benefit from a multi-enzyme complex as a dietary addition. - Photo: Twan Wiermans

Marketing skills

Columnist Irene Camerlink, an interdisciplinary researcher focusing on pig behaviour, welfare and production, discusses on page 34 how opportunities for specialisation have greatly expanded and how pig farmers can benefit.

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