DNA incorporates two new traits in the calculation of the maternal line indexes. This allows us to continue our progress towards the goal of: 14:14:21.
Our 14:14:21 goal for the maternal lines
In 2014, we set a goal for our selection program to move toward producing F1 animals, DNA 241, able to wean 14 piglets “under the sow” with a weight of 14 lbs (6.3 kg) at 21 days of age. (14:14:21). Our goal is to make the sow self-sufficient, with minimum intervention in management. We have focused our selection objectives on three specific areas where we can make an impact through genetic improvement:To achieve this goal, more than 14 live piglets per litter must be born, which must be uniform and high-quality. In addition, the sow must have the qualities that allow the piglets to reach 14 pounds (6.3 kg) at weaning. At DNA we continue to select LP5™ (live piglets at day 5) to further improve the quality of the piglets born. In 2017, a new trait was introduced, “Maternal Birth Weight”, which represents the female’s influence on the piglets’ birth weight. With the incorporation of MBW in the index, direct pressure was made on piglet quality, and a steady improvement in the average birth weight of the piglets has been achieved.
The new maternal line traits
Recently two new traits have been added to the index calculation:
- Number of functional teats: Increasing the number of functional teats (not just the total number of teats) will improve the rearing capacity of the female.
- Maternal traits: Identifies females capable of producing more or better quality milk and/or showing superior maternal behavior resulting in piglets with higher weaning weights.
Advantages in pig production
This will result in easier management and more efficient production. Here we list a few of the main advantages:
- Recover the 2.4 litters per sow per year, which has been slowly lost in the hyperprolific lines. This will mean getting the best profitabilityout of the facilities..
- Simplifying the management in the lactation period, will allow the piglets to have the cheapest and most effective milk: that of the dam.
- Reduce the risks from moving animalsby minimizing cross fostering. This point is important on farms with an unstable health status that are susceptible to periodic outbreaks of PRRS, for example.