Breeding company Choice Genetics’s aim is for sows to have good nursing qualities. France Perrot, the company’s director of international market development, explained to Pig Progress that the company is aiming at farms looking for labour efficiency and producing pigs without the use of artificial milk replacers.
Choice Genetics is owned by the French family-style business Groupe Grimaud, which is also known for layer breeding and pharmaceutical business.
Pig Progress: What is typical of your sow lines?
France Perrot: “Choice Genetics is focusing on raising 14 piglets easily, without the usage of additional milk replacers. Our main breeding goal is great nursing qualities, e.g. the number of working teats (at least 16), milk production, self-reliance and a good sow lifetime. We value uniform litters with robust piglets. For that reason, piglet birth weight should not drop below 1 kg.
“In our purebred sows for breeding purposes, we have a minimum birth weight of 1.3 kg for selection. With Choice sows, we aim for the multiplication farms who would like to produce piglets against low labour costs and without additional investments in techniques to supply milk replacers. In addition, robust piglets are an answer to society’s demands to reduce piglet mortality.”
France Perrot, Choice Genetics: “Piglet birth weight should not drop below 1 kg.” Photo: Henk Riswick
Doesn’t it require more than just nursing qualities?
“True, we also really aim for feed efficiency, growth and carcass quality. The sows usually have a little bit of additional body fat. This will improve milk production and will decrease sow mortality, which in addition adds to sow life expectancy. Nevertheless our sows will also ensure enough meat traits to, in combination with a suitable terminal sire, produce piglets for e.g. the German market, who’d grow fast with a low feed conversion.”
Choice Genetics is about to step into the Netherlands pig market as well. The introduction of boars is estimated to happen this month. Sows will follow later, for reasons of market exploration. The company wants to be right the first time.
What can you tell about the introduction in the Netherlands?
“In early 2018, we will introduce our sow lines on the market for farms with own breeding facilities. In addition, we will have the opportunity to import high health Naïma 2.0-gilts from France.
Sales and consulting is being done by RA-SE Genetics; we started a cooperation with them, as in Belgium developments are at a further stage. First farms have already started with Naïma 2.0 sows. They received gilts from a French high health breeder. Belgian farms with own breeding facilities will, jointly with the Netherlands, get access to our Large White semen, known as the M3. Apart from our home base in France, we are also strong in Europe in Spain, Ukraine, Germany and Poland.”