Selecting on less boar taint does not automatically mean selecting on less mounting and aggressive behaviour in boars. This was shown in research at Swine Innovation Centre Sterksel (SIC) and a commercial pig farm.
The EU proposes ending surgical castration of male piglets from 2018 onwards. The quality of meat from some entire males, however, is negatively influenced by odour and taste, referred to as boar taint. By using boars with a low breeding value for boar taint, the percentage of boars with boar taint at the slaughter house can be reduced by 40%. If there is a relationship between mounting behaviour and boar taint, than selection on boar taint will also reduce mounting and aggressive behaviour in boars. This was investigated by measuring the behaviour and boar taint in offspring of boars and sows with respectively a high or a low breeding value for boar taint.
Relationship behaviour and boar taint
The breeding value for boar taint had no effect on mounting behavior of the boars. Also, there was no relationship between mounting behavior and boar taint. The effect of the breeding value for boar taint on aggressive behaviour of the boars is not clear. Aggressive behaviour was lower on SIC Sterksel but higher on the commercial pig farm in boars with a low breeding value for boar taint. There was no relationship between aggressive behaviour and boar taint. In summary it can be concluded that selecting on less boar taint does not mean that there also will be selected on less mounting and aggressive behaviour in boars.
Report and flyer
The results of this trial and of previous research have been incorporated into a flyer with tips and recommendations to reduce mounting behaviour of boars. The project was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Product Board for Livestock and Meat.