PIC408: Not your typical Pietrain


PIC has been very effectively using genetic selection to improve PIC sire line performance for many decades, but in the last 10 years, genetic and genomic technologies have evolved enabling PIC to dramatically improve accuracy in genetic selection.  The incorporation of genetic cross-breeding programs has improved accuracy of genetic selection by realizing genetic potential in commercial production situations.  Development of new genetic tools, such as relationship based genomic selection, has further solidified PIC differentiation in the market place by increasing the amount of value PIC delivers to our customers.  As an example, in the most recent commercial evaluation trial we have determined that the PIC408 has a considerable advantage over the Pietrain-based competitors in Europe.  Economics evaluation of the trial results clearly indicated a fixed time advantage of more than €8 or fixed weight advantage of more than €6 of PIC vs. one the leading Pietrain-based competing sire lines (Figure 1).

This PIC commercial validation trial was conducted in collaboration with a PIC customer in Southern Europe under normal production conditions.  A single sow farm with F1 Landrace X Large White sows was used for the breeding project.  The breeding project consisted of three groups and each group was one month apart.  Within each group, semen from both sire lines was equally represented.  The PIC408 semen was sourced from a German GTC.  A total of 14 PIC408 boars were represented in the trial and all boars were halothane negative.  The German Pietrain semen was sourced from a GTC in Spain.  A total of 7 German Pietrain boars were represented in the trial and all boars were halothane carriers.  At farrowing, before cross-fostering, pigs were individually ear tagged so they could be identified throughout the trial.  All pigs were kept at the on-site sow farm nursery before being shipped to finishing farms for the growth trial portion of the trial.  Three different finishing farms were used for the growth trial.  At each finishing farm, 10 pens (12 pigs per pen; 5 pens of boars and 5 pens of gilts) were placed per genotype.  Thus, the entire growth trial consisted of 30 pens of pigs per genotype (360 pigs).  Mortality was monitored in the pre-weaning, nursery, and finishing phases of production.  Pigs and feed weights were measured at the initiation of the trial, at each diet change, and at the completion of the trial.  Pigs were then sent to a commercial slaughter facility to collect data on carcass lean and quality.

Key results of the trial are as follows (Figures 2, 3, 4, and 5):

  • PIC408 sired pigs had fewer low viability piglets at birth (2.2% lower).
  • PIC408 sired pigs tended to have lower pre-wean (2.4% lower), nursery (3.2% lower), and finishing mortality (1.1% lower).
  • PIC408 sired pigs had fewer finishing cull/light weight pigs at marketing (3.0% lower).
  • PIC408 sired pigs had more full value finishing pigs (4.2% more).
  • PIC408 sired pigs had a faster growth rate from birth to 27 kg (5.2 days faster or 18 g/d).
  • PIC408 sired pigs had faster finishing ADG (42 g/d faster) and better FCR (80g less feed).
  • PIC408 sired pigs had faster lifetime carcass weight gain (23 g/d faster).
  • PIC408 sired pigs had heavier carcass (4.1 kg heavier) and ham (0.2 kg heavier) weights.
  • PIC408 sired pigs had leaner carcasses (0.85% higher AutoFOM lean) even at a 4.1 kg heavier carcass weight.
  • PIC408 sired pigs had better loin (0.07 pH units) and ham (0.04 pH units) pH.

These data along with data from previous trials clearly indicate that the PIC408 Pietrain is not a typical Pietrain.  Our data consistently indicate that the PIC408 is more robust and faster growing than other Pietrain boar lines along with good meat quality as reflected from higher pH values.  Prior to the current trial we were unable to measure feed efficiency with the PIC408 versus other Pietrain-based genetics, but the current trial demonstrates the effectiveness of the PIC408 in feed conversion.  In previous trials the PIC408 had lower lean percentages; however, in this current trial the PIC408 has a distinct advantage in AutoFOM lean percentage.  This demonstrates the effectiveness of the PIC genetics platform and how it can accurately and quickly improve the PIC408 boar line.  In conclusion, PIC’s genetic selection program delivers continuous genetic improvement of PIC sire lines, which is realized in commercial production systems with PIC Pietrain genetics clearly delivering a total economics advantage over the competition. 

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