Identification selection and improved utilization of superior boars for pork production - Ontario Pork - Completed Research

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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Completed Research

Ontario Pork has a call for research proposals once a year. These projects were approved for funding by the board on recommendation of the research committee. If you have questions or need further information about the research posted here please contact Jessica Fox at

Completed Research

Identification selection and improved utilization of superior boars for pork production

Identification selection and improved utilization of superior boars for pork production

Project 11-208 - Researcher: Michael Dyck

Research Summary – Project 11/208
Researcher: Michael Dyck, Swine Research and Technology Centre, University of Alberta

Project Start: 2011 Project Completed: 2012

Key Points:
Boars in the Canadian breeding herd are frequently evaluated based on semen quality, not on an individual fertility basis. This may result in the use of boars with subpar fertility, leaving plenty of room for improvement in Canadian genetics. In order to evaluate the reproductive value of commercial boars, and eliminate those with poor potential, researchers at the University of Alberta conducted a trial at a 3500 head Ontario sow barn, with boars from a commercial Ontario boar stud. 55 boars were selected based on their sperm motility and minimal abnormality. Their fertility was evaluated based on the results from breeding at least 50 sows each, with 2 million sperm per AI dose. The results showed that the top third of boars trialed had farrowing rates 10% higher than the bottom third of boars, while also producing 0.6 more pigs total born per litter and 0.7 more pigs live born per litter. When comparing the most and least fertile boars, there was a difference of 534 total pigs produced per 100 sows bred. The results allowed the boar stud to cull boars with poor reproductive potential, while the reduction in AI dose from the standard 3 million sperm down to 2 million allowed the stud to produce the same number of doses it had done previously, but with fewer, more fertile boars. When applied to industry, similar evaluation could facilitate genetics companies to identify superior boars, improving sow productivity while also allowing for a smaller AI dose. To advance the application of this research, further work is being done in the trial boars to identify genetic markers associated with fertility. 

Alternative Resources:
London Swine Conference Proceedings 2012 pg 61.
Banff Proceedings 2013 –abstract #9

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