Applying genomic selection for traits like litter size, mothering abilities and number of still born piglets results in extra genetic progress. Topigs’ use of genomic selection for these traits has resulted in an increased reliability of the breeding values of young male selection candidates in dam lines by 16% to 44% compared with selection without genomic selection.
The use of genomic selection for these fertility and mothering ability traits on young male selection candidates in dam lines results in a higher intensity of selection. The genomic breeding values of boars are predicted before the end of their performance test, before they have produced offspring. In the past, genetic quality could only be differentiated between full sibs for these traits based on the results of their offspring.
The higher reliability and the higher intensity of genomic selection results in substantially faster genetic progress for economically important reproductive traits in Topigs dam lines. Additionally, producers benefit from working with sows that are easier to manage and require less labour and feed.
Performance benchmarking* in the USA demonstrates that Topigs sows already outperform other genetics. Topigs sows weaned 28.3 piglets per sow per year, which is 3.5 piglets higher than the benchmark. Topigs sows achieved this high production level with lower mortality rates and higher farrowing rates. The % of piglets weaned out of total number born was 1.5% higher. This is proof of the robustness of the company’s sows and piglets in large US production systems.
It is expected that the difference between Topigs and other genetics will increase in the next years as the effects of implementing genomic selection will become more and more visible in the barns of customers.