Snow shoes and sandals? Genetic aspects of heat stress sensitivity and sow reproduction

Pork is consumed all around the world. Some religions do not allow pork as part of the menu, but in general pork is the world’s most consumed meat.

Promovendus ir. S (Saskia) Bloemhof
Promotor JAM (Johan) van Arendonk
Copromotor Promotor: prof. dr. I Misztal
Copromotors: dr ir EH van der Waaij, dr ir EF Knol
Organisatie Wageningen University, Animal Breeding and Genetics

di 10 september 2013 16:00 tot 17:30

Locatie Auditorium, building number 362
Generaal Foulkesweg 1
6703 BG Wageningen

Pork is produced in large integrated systems in the Midwest of the USA, with on occasion more than 100,000 sows; in small farms in Scandinavia, with an average farm size of around 100 sows; in family farms in Asia with perhaps half a dozen of sows; and finally in some areas in the world as backyard production, almost pets or scavengers. In general, pig production tends to move from moderate to somewhat harsher climates, hotter, dryer, and on higher altitudes. In addition, global temperature will increase as a result of climate change and availability of resources for climate control, energy and water will decrease. Our question in this thesis was if current and future pigs fit within these production environments of today and the near future.

Breeding for improved heat stress resistance not necessary

The conclusion of the thesis was that in the context of a commercial breeding company with a crossbred evaluation program, breeding for improved heat stress resistance is not necessary. The most important issue for a pig breeding program is to define appropriate breeding goals which are based on the market pigs are expected to perform in and to include crossbred performance data in the selection of purebred pigs. If a commercial pig breeding program will include this in their selection decisions they are able to breed pigs that fit within production environments of today and the near future.