Better piglets and stronger sows
Using new insights, the balanced breeding of Topigs can be improved even further still. Researcher Rob Bergsma from Topigs recently gained his doctorate from Wageningen University for his research on this theme. He investigated the factors that affect piglet production and the genetic mechanisms underlying these.
Litter weight proved to be an important factor for the balanced breeding of heavier and stronger piglets. The total weight of the piglets (the average weight of the piglet times the number of piglets in a litter) lying with a sow was the determining factor for milk production. More kilos of piglet in a litter resulted in the sow producing more milk and, therefore, eating more feed or making greater use of her fat reserves.
With a different approach to breeding the piglets are stronger and the piglet mortality drops. Stronger piglets later become better-quality finishers, experience improved animal welfare and are less work to look after. Such piglets also have a more efficient feed conversion.
With the new breeding approach, the mother sow not only produces more milk but she also lives for longer.
Topigs is implementing these findings in its breeding programme.