Hats off to the hard working crew at Qualley
In swine genetics you have to begin with the end in mind, which means our geneticists and production leaders work to identify a maternal line that produces large, healthy litters with good mothering ability, and a paternal line whose offspring are good growers, are feed efficient and have excellent meat quality, a trait very important to our customer.
The boars selected for our gene transfer centers are based on the results of complex data sets that determine the value and merit of the genetics, such as performance data, closeout data, genetic markers and other molecular techniques which are used to very accurately predict what the performance of their progeny (offspring) will be.
To put that into the perspective of our billion pound journey, one of our higher-producing boars could produce as many as 65 PCAI doses per week. That’s 3,380 doses per year, and our breed leads know we deliver two doses per sow. Times that by a 90% farrowing rate and that’s 1,520 litters per boar!
If the sow weans 11 piglets per litter that would be 16,731 weaned pigs X a 275 market weight = 4,598,000 pounds produced by one boar per year. We didn’t factor in mortality in finishing but you get the gist, our boars and the crews at the gene transfer centers are incredibly important to our billion pound journey.
“Our boars are Durocs because they are a great finishing pig,” said Brian, supervisor of the GTCs. “They have a great appetite, are overall very efficient and lean and are a hearty breed, meaning they can ward off disease better than other breeds.”
Brian also points out the Duroc boars aren’t entirely suited for the GTCs, there is an increase in discard rate, meaning a high rate of semen doesn’t pass the quality tests we’ll learn about in the next post, and the output makes it overall a more difficult line for the team. “They can be high maintenance,” admits Dave, manager at Qualley. “But our team works through those disadvantages at the GTCs, and the overall performance of their offspring by far makes up for the extra efforts and that’s the critical factor,” he said.
On any given day there are 350 boars at Qualley Boar Stud, and each boar is collected once a week for younger boars, or three times every two weeks for more mature boars. And boar collection is no laughing matter, it takes tremendous patience and skill on the behalf of the technicians to train the boars, collect the semen and complete the detailed recordkeeping requirements.
Captured in sterile disposable containers, the semen going through its first quality process, and that’s separating a gelatin-like material from the collection, then passing the cup through a small temperature-controlled window to be retrieved by the technicians in the lab.
Hats off to the hard working crew at Qualley— Dave, Ty, Fred, Steve, Tarren, Trent, Noah and Randy for your dedication, skill and dependability! #billionpounds