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The choice of sire line determines the quality of final products in pigs

, : The choice of sire line determines the quality of final products in pigs. Zuechtungskunde 68(6): 483-492

The quality of final products in pigs will here broader be defined as presently in Germany customary. Beside of economic criteria of fattening and carcass composition also meat quality criteria must be included, such as freedom of PSE, DFD and the Hampshire factor and in addition a minimal content of intramuscular fat to improve taste characteristics. Recently also ethical considerations such as the utilization of breeds with genetic defects have become important. Since all intensive breeding programmes use similar crossbred females between LR and LW dam lines the flexibility of final products and their specific adaptation to different markets must be brought in by sire lines with specific characteristics. Under West European conditions we have three specific sire breeds Pietrain (PI), Hampshire (HA) and Duroc (DU) and the crosses between them. PI has by far the highest lean content but is highly stress susceptible (MHS = PP), HA is stress resistant (MHS = NN) but shows in its progeny the so-called "Hampshire factor", which causes weight losses in cooked hams. DU is also stress resistant (NN) but fatter than the other two, but it has the highest intramuscular fat content. High quality requirements can only be met with homozygously stress resistant final products and these are produced in Holland, Scandinavia and Switzerland without stress susceptible PI-sires, which face increasing ethical criticism by the animal protection lobby. For reasons of international competition as well as ethical concerns German pig breeders must therefore quickly try to present homozygously stress resistant final products at the markets. The easiest way to do this under German grading conditions would be to breed a stress resistant PI--subpopulation using the MHC-genetest. This is in progress in many large breeding companies. In the meantime enough homo- and heterozygous Pl-boars are available at AI-stations to breed a homozygous NN-population of PI- via a broad NP-Fl-foundation. It is more difficult to increase the intramuscular fat content of final products because that can only be done with incorporating generally fatter breeds (e.g. DU) and would lead to decreased income due to poorer grading.

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