Using test station and on-farm data for the genetic evaluation of Piétrain boars used on Landrace sows for growth performance1
M. Dufrasne, M. Rustin, V. Jaspart, J. Wavreile, N. Gengler
Journal of Animal Science
The aim of this study was to develop a new genetic evaluation model to estimate the genetic merit of boars for growth based on 1) performance of their crossbred progeny fattened in the test station and 2) their own performance or those of relatives from the on-farm testing system. The model was a bivariate random regression animal model with linear splines and was applied to Piétrain boars from the Walloon Region of Belgium mated with Landrace sows. Data contained 1) 12,610 BW records from the
... est station collected on 1,435 crossbred pigs from Piétrain boars and Landrace sows, and 2) 52,993 BW records from the on-farm testing system collected on 50,670 pigs with a breed composition of at least 40% Piétrain or Landrace. Since 2007, 56 Piétrain boars have been tested in the station. Data used to estimate variance components and breeding values were standardized for the age to take into account heterogeneity of variances and then pre-adjusted at 210 d of age to put all records on the same scale. Body weight records from the test station and from the on-farm testing system were considered as 2 different traits. The heterosis effect was modeled as fixed regression on the heterozygosity coefficient. As all test station animals were similarly crossbred, smaller variation in heterozygosity caused the sampling error of the regression estimate at 210 d to be larger in the test station than in on-farm data with estimates of 28.35 ± 14.55 kg and 9.02 ± 0.67 kg, respectively. Therefore, the most likely reason for the large differences in estimates was sampling. Heritability estimates ranged from 0.37 to 0.60 at 210 and 75 d, respectively, for test station BW and from 0.42 to 0.60 at 210 d and 175 d, respectively, for on-farm BW. Genetic correlation decreased when the age interval between records increased, and were greater between ages for test station than for on-farm data. Genetic correlations between test station and onfarm BW at the same age were high: 0.90 at 175 d and 0.85 at 210 d. For the 56 boars tested in the station, the average reliability of their EBV for ADG between 100 and 210 d was improved from 0.60 using only test station data to 0.69 using jointly test station and on-farm data. Based on these results, the new model developed was considered as a good method of detection of differences in growth potential of Piétrain boars based on test station and on-farm data.