Swine Feed Efficiency: Genetic Impact
Feed costs have traditionally been the highest contributor to cost of production in swine, representing 2/3 of the cost to produce a market hog. Feed efficiency is a trait that is significantly influenced by genetics, with a heritability in the moderate range (30%-40% of the differences between animals in feed efficiency are due to genetics). The genetic system that a swine producer utilizes can have a significant impact on herd feed efficiency and the operation’s feed costs. The genetic system is comprised of the genetic composition of the sire and dam lines, plus, the crossbreeding system. The critical aspects for the sire and dam lines include a combination of the genetic supplier used by the producer, the specific lines utilized for the terminal sire lines and maternal dam lines, and the genetic improvement program of the genetic supplier. It is important to remember that the genetic composition of each market hog is derived equally from the sire and from the dame of the pigs.