Novel selection strategies for sows and boars to optimize litter quality and performance

Funding Details
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Grant type: Collaborative Research and Development Grants
  • Years: 2015/16 to 2017/18
  • Total Funding: $300,000
Principle Investigator(s)

Project Summary

Global, national and regional genetic companies are able to supply the Canadian pork production industry with production sows and terminal line boars with exceptional genetic merit. However, using existing management practices, and because of inadvertent genetic-environment interactions, producers fail to fully realize this genetic potential at the production level. Through a concerted effort to address issues related to the sows' impact on the performance of their litters and to maximize the genetic impact of top boars, the proposed research project will improve industry competitiveness and create opportunities for product differentiation. With regards to sow productivity, studies will characterization the factors that result in litter birth weight phenotypes and their economic impact on the Canadian pork industry. This will provide a better understanding of the maternal and fetal interactions that give rise to this economically important trait. Studies related to boar fertility will apply breeding management techniques to identify boars with superior reproductive efficiency and allow for the identification of biological markers of boar fertility. These studies will deliver novel tools and techniques to improve breeding management practices by identifying strategies to select for and manage difficult and expensive to measure traits that hold the most potential for genomic approaches for future improvement. This will lay the foundation for improved litter quality and increased competitiveness of the pork industry.