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Peri-natal survival of piglets understanding and genetics. Lauren Christian Endowed Lecture Egbert F. Knol. Road map. Challenge Our business is efficient pork production Our responsibility is to maintain animal integrity Pork chain mortality is out of bounds in many situations

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lauren christian endowed lecture egbert f knol

Peri-natal survival of piglets

understanding and genetics

Lauren Christian Endowed Lecture

Egbert F. Knol

road map
Road map

Challenge

  • Our business is efficient pork production
  • Our responsibility is to maintain animal integrity
  • Pork chain mortality is out of bounds in many situations

Peri-natal survival:

  • Basics
  • Genetics
  • Piglet side : vitality
  • Nurse sow side : mothering ability

Genomics will help

Mission for all of us

our business
Our business

FARROW

FINISH

PORK

FEED

efficiency
Efficiency

FARROW

FINISH

PORK

FEED

PORK

FE =-----------

FEED

losses on the way
Losses on the way

FARROW FINISH

FEED

PORK

Losses drain efficiency; feed is invested, but not harvested

good 12 weaned
GOOD: 12 weaned

FARROW FINISH

Gestation lactation nursery finishing

LOSSES

30 ova shed

15 piglets born

1 stillborn

14.3% PWM

2% nursery

5% sow mortality 3% finishing

76% of total born reaches plant

good 12 weaned1
GOOD: 12 weaned

FARROW FINISH

Gestation lactation nursery finishing

LOSSES

30 ova shed

15 piglets born

Crowding? Selection for increased litter size overdone?

(Canada, university of Alberta, Foxcroft et al.)

good 12 weaned2
GOOD: 12 weaned

FARROW FINISH

Gestation lactation nursery finishing

LOSSES

30 ova shed

15 piglets born

1 stillborn

14.3% PWM

2% nursery

20% peri-natal mortality in a good situation

good 12 weaned3
GOOD: 12 weaned

FARROW FINISH

Gestation lactation nursery finishing

 

farrowing survival

preweaning survival

Correlated responses backward and forward

added challenge
Added challenge

Hours spent per piglet in a farrowing unit

Hours

Year

modeling of test farm
Modeling of test farm

Frequency/% survival

Weight (kg)

Bell curve is birth weight distribution

S – curve is Survival curve

sire differences
Sire differences

Pre-weaning survival

>350 offspring each

2 lbs

4 lbs

death whom to blame
Death: whom to blame?

Genes of the piglet?

Genes of the sow?

Genes of the foster?

genetic models
Genetic models

Classic approach

  • Litter mortality = HYS + sow (+ error)
  • Litter survival = HYS + service sire + sow

Improved (still recording at litter level)

  • Litter survival = HYS + service sire + sow

Our perception

  • Piglet survival = HYS + f(BW) + animal + dam + foster
  • Animal = piglet vitality,
  • Dam = uterine quality and
  • Foster = mothering ability
slide22

Piglet weighing

> 500,000 piglets per per year

piglet vitality

Piglet vitality

The animal effect from the model

why does it work
Why does it work?
  • 25 high EBV gilts mated to high EBV boars
  • 25 low low
  • All 50 caesarian sectioned 2 days before farrowing, placentae weighed
  • All 650 piglets fully dissected
  • Organs weighed, length of intestinal tract, blood parameters etc. etc.
  • More vital: heavier livers, more glycogen (P=0.04)
blue high ebv litters

2000

1600

1200

Weight piglet

800

400

0

0

50

100

150

200

250

300

350

400

450

500

Weight placenta

Blue: high EBV litters

Jascha Leenhouwers en Tette van der Lende

high ebv litters more cortisol
High EBV litters more cortisol

Jascha Leenhouwers, JAS 2002

mothering ability

Mothering ability

Foster effect from the model

what do we like in a sow
What do we LIKE in a sow
  • Quiet
  • Attentive
  • Enough teats
  • Quality of teats
  • Enough milk
  • Uniformity at birth and at weaning
  • Maintenance of body condition
  • ....

Lots of grad students needed…

Or: use EBV for mothering ability

1 visual scan sampling
1. Visual scan sampling
  • 4 hours walking through farrowing rooms
  • Visually ‘Scanning’ each sow every 5 minutes
  • 5 observation days (days -2, 0, 7, 14)
  • 80 sows, 150 traits
results 1 scan sampling
Results: 1. Scan sampling

Sows with high EBV-MA:

  • Less changes of posture
  • Less activity
  • Less in sitting position
results 2 open field test
Results: 2. Open field test

Sows with high EBV-MA:

  • More exploring behaviour in open field
results 3 aggression test
Results: 3. Aggression test

Sows with high EBV-MA:

  • More lying laterally
  • More vocalisation
  • Less aggression (biting plush piglet)!!!
conclusion
Conclusion

Statistical model results in what we want:

  • Quiet
  • Attentive
  • Enough teats
  • Quality of teats
  • Uniformity at birth and at weaning

No need for grad students here

ebv estimation
EBV estimation

4 million piglets weighed

1.2 million sows

2 million piglets with underline count

validation
Validation

1 take out 10,000 records

2 estimate breeding values on the remaining data

3 predict the 10,000

4 expected b-value should be 1.00

general conclusions
General conclusions
  • Survival: management = selection
  • Survival selection: hard work, but feasible
  • Most genetic companies select, be it with different tools
  • Faster than economic progress should be an option
  • Longer gestation, lower variation in bw, but not higher bw

Next table closer than you might expect

interesting remarks
Interesting remarks
  • Sows housed in groups have piglets with heavier birth weights
slide60

Group housing in gestation

Corrected mean:

Raw data:

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