How to select the right breed for specific purposes.
By Julio P. Yap, Jr.
We previously tackled the swine breeds that are available in the country and their suitability for different localities. This second article (the first ran in the June issue of Agriculture Magazine) focuses on selecting the right breed for specific purposes.
According to Ron Bustria, assistant manager for Nutrition Services of the Univet Nutrition and Animal Healthcare Company or UNAHCO, a farmer should consider the following factors when selecting breeder sows on the basis of physical appearance:
• The gilt should have a well-developed udder with a minimum of six pairs of properly spaced, functioning teats. A sow with poor udder development is likely to have poor milking capacity.
• Chose those that do not have inverted teats, for such teats do not secrete milk and can be inherited by the sow’s offspring.
• A long body is more desirable in sows because it provides more space for udder development.
• The body should have uniform width from front to rear.
• Good development of the ham, loin, and shoulder is required for a breeding animal.
• Breeders must have sound and well-placed feet and legs. Animals with medium, short feet and short upright pasterns are preferable.
• Make it a point to select the biggest animals with a litter.
• Female breeders should come from a litter of eight or more good-sized piglets with high survival rates.
• Do not keep gilts that come from sows in which agalactia (failure to secrete milk) have been observed.
• Select vigorous and hardy pigs from a healthy litter in a herd raised under good swine sanitation conditions. Do not keep gilts or boars, nor breed, from litters that have physical abnormalities.
These may be inherited.
Bustria said most of the factors suggested in selecting a gilt or sow also apply in the selection of a boar. However, the following pointers should also be considered:
• Masculinity, both in appearance and action, should predominate in the physical traits of any boar.
• The primary sex organs should be clearly visible and welldeveloped. Select only those boars whose testicles are of equal size.
• However, it is best to select a boar that has not been proven and tested for boars with traits that can overcome the defects of the herd. Minor defects in the boar may be ignored, provided that they are not present among the sows.
• Generally, boars should be four to six months old at the time of selection.
In the next article, we will tackle beneficial and profitable swine housing practices.
This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July 2015 issue.