Assessing the value of 14-day litter traits in Canadian pig breeding programs to improve piglet survival and overall profitability

Meeting the increasing world food demand is arguably the top priority of the Canadian agriculture industry. Current breeding criteria has increased the number of piglets born/sow/year. However, the lack of a well-rounded breeding program has diminished these effects, as large litter sizes are associated with reduced litter quality, pig performance, and carcass quality. Selecting for improved 14-day litter traits may improve farm productivity and profitability. This is because piglets with improved 14-day litter traits are predicted to be well supported by the sow and better equipped to thrive throughout development and for these reasons show improved survival, growth performance and carcass quality. This project will explore the use of 14-day litter traits as a breeding goal in Canadian pig breeding programs. If positive, the results of this study will be directly incorporated into a Canadian pig breeding program to improve the productivity and profitability of their pigs.

Faculty Supervisor:

Graham Plastow


Kristin Lee




Food science






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