May 12, 2006


Genes from China can raise productivity of UK pigs



British pig farmers may be able to raise an additional pig a litter through the use of genes from a Chinese breed, said international pig breeding company ACMC. 


ACMC's managing director Matthew Curtis said the approach might reduce production costs by 6 pence/kg of pork sold and raise the net margin for average-scale pig producers by GBP51,500 annually. He added that the British pig industry also had the potential to raise its global competitiveness through this method.


ACMC has been incorporating genes from the highly productive 'Meishan' breed from China into its pig-breeding programme for over 20 years. The UK started importing the Chinese breed during the 1980s, and ACMC has since developed its own 'Meidam' line.


'Meidam' sows have 16 teats and produce an average of 13 piglets in a litter, compared with 14 and 11.5 respectively for the Landrace breed. They are also used to produce the commercial parent.


Curtis said the claims are based on results taken from commercial farms where 'Meidam' breeds are used.


According to results from sample herds, commercial producers who used the method reared over three pigs a sow annually more than the national average, he added.