Genetic progress will save on cash

6 March 1998

Genetic progress will save on cash

PIG producers will be able to reduce their production costs by 9p/kg within five years once genetic improvements promising enhanced production efficiency come on stream.

Sue Corning, head of the PIC UK technical and genetic team, told a London meeting that the company hoped to improve the rate of genetic progress of its breeding stock by about 35%.

These improvements would start coming on-line within the next six months and would bring swift rewards, Ms Corning said.

Within five years, producers using the improved stock from its Genesis project would be reducing production costs by 9p/kg.

The saving comes through improved efficiency reflected in 15g of extra lean a pig a year, an improvement of 0.4 in FCR, and a reduction in P2 by 0.26mm.

While Ms Corning acknowledged that this year will be testing for producers, there was scope to improve production efficiency.

As well as using better genetics, improved management could bring huge savings – an extra one pig a sow a year would be worth £2500 for a 200-sow herd. The additional management required to rear more pigs would bring few extra costs.

While improving FCR might be more expensive, any investment should be more than recouped with an improvement of 0.1 FCR worth about £2 a pig. Thats an extra £8900 for a 200-sow herd producing 4400 pigs a year, she explained.

"While pigs weaned and FCR are obviously priorities – also look carefully at feed use and matching diet specification to pig requirements, introducing a number of finishing diets," urged Ms Corning.

&#8226 PIC will introduce a free help-line in July, as a contact point for all UK producers seeking advice on topical issues. It has also set up a focus group, comprising six producers and chaired by south Humberside producer Meryl Ward, to help it better understand the requirements of its customers.

MARKER assisted selection is helping PIC speed its genetic progress.

It already claims markers for coat colour, litter size and meat quality and suggests that in five to eight years time it could be using genetic markets to identify stock with resistance to specific diseases.

"Theres an opportunity to identify individuals within genotypes which have a high level of immunity. For example, animals carrying the E coli K88 gene are not susceptible to E coli K88 – this offers real potential," said Ms Corning.

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