A tissue sample for Genomic selection is selected at birth from each newborn pure line boar. The presence of specific markers in its DNA code provides precious information on his genetic merit. Results of the DNA analysis are available before this boar will be offtested.
Test pens are equipped with Schauer Individual Feed Intake Recording stations, and allow to track the daily feed intake during all performance testing period.
At the end of the test, boars are individually weighed. The carcass yield and the lean meat yield of those boars are assessed with a Live Scan Muscle (Back Fat, Intra Muscular Fat and Loin depth are recorded with a 10th of mm precision). In order to have accurate data, a hydraulic bridge is present in the weighing scale to provide a flat spine position during data recording.
Finally, an overall phenotypic assessment and a leg scoring is measured for each off-tested boar. Only boars with the appropriate phenotypic quality are selected for further breeding or sales, non-withstanding their genetic merit.
The genetic merit calculated for each boar takes into account growth, feed intake and carcass quality. Data from Genomic Selection and GNX flow are incorporated to further increase the accuracy of the genetic merit calculated for each boar. Figure 1 shows the distribution of above-mentioned parts in index accuracy.
Figure 1. Importance of GNX program, genomics and phenotype data for index accuracy.
Efficient pig production requires a maximal throughput from production capacities, thus the genetic potential for growth is of primary importance in order to have the maximum economic return of the production system. In order to assess the genetic merit of boars, they are weighed individually at a fixed age with an average weight close to the market weight observed on major markets. The genetic merit is calculated on the life daily gain, even if it is possible to split it into post-weaning growth and test growth.
The structure of the cost price highlights the importance of the feed costs in the overall production costs, thus the genetic potential for efficient Feed conversion is of primary importance in order to optimize the economical return. The genetic merit is calculated on the individual feed intake relative to the test live growth.
Potential of boars to produce offspring of high market value is crucially important, that is why the lean meat percentage is assessed with Live Scan Muscle recording.
As it is critical to use crossbred animals in real-life environments to improve traits (as wean to finish robustness, meat quality) within customer systems, the pure line data capture is complemented with large-scale data capture in commercial situations (GNX program). In order to proceed, the semen of each GGP sire is used for 6 weeks on commercial farms in order to produce around 2,000 finishers for each sire, which individual performances (Growth, Robustness, Carcass and Meat Quality traits as pH24h, Intra Muscular Fat, meat tenderness will be thoroughly tracked from birth to slaughter). The farms part of the Genetic Nucleus X-Crossbred (GNX) systems have a conventional health status and geographically split between USA, Western Europe and Russia into dense pig production areas.