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Correlated response in reproduction growth and composition to selection in gilts for extremes in age at puberty and backfat

Correlated response in reproduction growth and composition to selection in gilts for extremes in age at puberty and backfat

Livestock Production Science 24(3): 237-248

ISSN/ISBN: 0301-6226

DOI: 10.1016/0301-6226(90)90004-p

Females (n = 50) were selected for extremes in early vs. late sexual maturity (12 EP, 13 LP) based on age at first detectable estrus; or, high vs. low backfat (13 HF, 12 LF) based on backfat at the tenth rib adjusted to 105 kg basis. These selected females were then heat checked daily, bred during scheduled breeding periods and allowed to farrow. Reproductive performance was then monitored. More EP than LP females demonstrated a normal cycling pattern. Also, more HF than LF females had normal cycling patterns. Early puberty (EP) female farrowed more litters per sow (P < 0.05) and more pigs litter (P < 0.10) than LP. Low-fat females farrowed fewer pigs alive (P < 0.10) than HF. Early puberty (EP) and HF females had the highest Sow Productivity Indexes (SPI), while LP females were intermediate. Low-fat females had the lowest SPI (P < 0.05). These results indicate that single-trait selection for extreme leanness or late puberty could be detrimental to reproductive performance. Progeny (371 gilts and 173 barrows) from these litters were then performance tested. The correlated responses in the offspring to selection extremes for puberty in the dams indicates that selection for early puberty in the females will result in faster gaining offspring with an increased amount of backfat. The correlated responses in offspring of the backfat lines indicates that selection for low backfat thickness of cycling females will decrease fat and increase the amount of lean deposited by her offspring. Also, LF offspring reached puberty and market weight at an earlier age.

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