Using Duroc semen instead of Piétrain in pig production results in considerable financial gains per sow from birth to slaughter, according to recent Danish research.
The research was carried out by the Danish Seges Pig Research Centre, which examined the economics of having crossbreed pigs from either Duroc or Piétrain boars. The pig research centre reported about the trials in a press release.
The research centre observed that Duroc crossbreeds (Duroc x Landrace x Yorkshire – D-LY) had a faster growth, slightly better Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) and more D-LY were weaned compared to Piétrain crossbreeds (Piétrain x Landrace x Yorkshire – P-LY).
Monitoring sows on an individual basis
The centre’s senior researcher, Hanne Maribo, was responsible for the trial. In a press release shared by the research centre, she was quoted saying: “We have monitored D-LY sows and P-LY sows on an individual basis from birth to slaughter and the figures speak for themselves. In fact, the benefit is around DKK13 (€1.75) more per pig with D-LY instead of P-LY.”
Danish Duroc boars are being off-loaded from a transport truck. Photo: Bert Jansen
The Pig Research Centre conducted the trial with sows of Danish origin (DanAvl). They were serviced with semen from either Piétrain or Duroc boars. At 30 kg the pigs were transferred into pens where daily gain and feed intake were recorded.
700,000 fewer piglets
The result of the trial showed that with Duroc as the sire line, there are 0.3 more weaned pigs per litter. Simultaneously, Duroc progeny were observed to have better FCR and daily gain. On average, the Piétrain progeny showed a growth of 897 g/day whereas the result for the Duroc crossbreeds came down to 1,054 g/day.
The trial also showed that the Piétrain crossbreed’s meat percentage was 2% higher, but because litters with a Duroc sire line result in more weaned pigs per litter and Duroc crossbreeds have a better feed conversion and grew faster, the financial benefits were higher with the Duroc sire line.
The researchers stated that, a hypothetical 100% switch to Piétrain as the boar line instead of Duroc in Denmark, would result in 700,000 fewer piglets and about 2,000,000 fewer slaughters per year in Denmark.
Denmark’s pig breeding system is highly based on Duroc breeds. Christian Fink Hansen, sector director, Seges Pig Research Centre, therefore saw the benefits of the current Danish system confirmed. In the press release, he said: “Had the trial proved otherwise, we would have taken the necessary decisions. We remain constantly updated on developments so as to ensure that Denmark has the best conditions for producing some of the world’s best pigs.”