Robustness scores in fattening pigs based on routinely collected phenotypes: determination and genetic parameters.

TitleRobustness scores in fattening pigs based on routinely collected phenotypes: determination and genetic parameters.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsLenoir, G, Flatres-Grall, L, Friggens, NC, David, I
JournalJ Anim Sci
Date Published2022 May 01
KeywordsAnimals, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Body Weight, Eating, Male, Models, Animal, Phenotype, Swine

The objective was to determine operational proxies for robustness based on data collected routinely on farm that allow phenotyping of these traits in fattening pigs, and to estimate their genetic parameters. A total of 7,256 pigs, from two Piétrain paternal lines (Pie and Pie NN), were tested at the AXIOM boar testing station (Azay-sur-Indre, France) from 2019 to 2021. During the fattening period (from 75 to 150 d of age), individual performance indicators were recorded (growth, backfat, loin depth, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio [FCR]) together with indicators such as insufficient growth, observable defect, symptoms of diseases, and antibiotic and anti-inflammatory injections. These indicators were combined into three categorical robustness scores: R1, R2, and R3. Genetic parameters were estimated using an animal linear model. The robustness score R2 (selectable or not selectable animal) that combined information from status at testing and mortality had the highest heritability estimates of 0.08 ± 0.03 for Pie NN line and a value of 0.09 ± 0.02 for Pie line, compared with traits R1 and R3. The score R3 that combines information from the score R2 with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory injections presented slightly lower heritability estimates (0.05 ± 0.02 to 0.07 ± 0.03). Genetic correlations between R2 and R3 were high and favorable (0.93 ± 0.04 to 0.95 ± 0.03) and R2 and R3 can be considered identical with regard to the confidence interval. These two robustness scores were also highly and favorably genetically correlated with initial body weight and average daily gain, and unfavorably correlated with daily feed intake (ranging from 0.73 ± 0.06 to 0.90 ± 0.08). Estimates of genetic correlations of R2 and R3 with backfat depth and raw FCR (not standardized between starting and finishing weights) were moderate and unfavorable (0.20 ± 0.13 to 0.46 ± 0.20). A part of these genetic correlations, that are of low precision due to the number of data available, have to be confirmed on larger datasets. The results showed the interest of using routine phenotypes collected on farm to build simple robustness indicators that can be applied in breeding.

Alternate JournalJ Anim Sci
PubMed ID35511420