The primary purpose of swine improvement programs is to measure
the performance of pigs and to use these performance records in
selection to increase the rate of genetic improvement. This publication
outlines uniform procedures for measuring, recording and utilizing
swine performance records. It also strives to achieve greater
uniformity of terminology and methods of measuring performance
Economic traits of swine include those that contribute to productive
efficiency and desirability of product. Growth rate, feed efficiency,
reproductive efficiency, and carcass merit are the economic traits
of greatest importance. Performance testing offers those engaged
in swine production a way of measuring heritable differences among
animals to select parents that have the highest probability of
transmitting their superior performance traits to their offspring.
Differences in performance among individuals or groups of animals
are due to genetic and environmental effects. The observed or
measured performance of each animal for each trait is the result
of genes received from its parents and the total environment in
which it is produced. Because differences among animals for economically
important traits are due in varying degree to genetic reasons,
systematic measurements and use of records in selection can increase
the rate of genetic improvement. Furthermore, genetically superior
individuals can be more readily identified when animals are maintained
under the same management systems and their performance records
are adjusted for known environmental effects.
Genetic improvement of pigs includes more than the improvement
of efficiency of pork production. It is mandatory that we improve
both product quality and production efficiency to ensure the survival
of the swine industry. To meet these goals, an organized, systematic
program is needed, involving swine producers, swine organizations,
and meat processors. The primary features of a successful genetic
improvement program include:
2. Use of appropriate data analysis and genetic evaluation procedures.
3. Use of these results when selecting breeding stock.
The success of a genetic improvement program is dependent on its
use by both seedstock and commercial swine producers. No genetic
progress can be initiated if seedstock producers do not utilize
accurately identified, genetically superior animals in their breeding
program. No genetic progress can be realized if commercial producers
do not utilize offspring of these same animals in their breeding
program. The technical direction of genetic programs can be supplied
by trained personnel in both university and industry organizations.
The education, coordination, and promotion of these programs
can come from the Cooperative Extension Service and industry organizations.
All pertinent groups must contribute for a genetic improvement
program to produce maximum genetic progress.
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