Upgraded breeding structure with Delta Canada brings extra added value for customers

Delta Canada is a central performance test center of Topigs Norsvin. It is equipped with individual feed intake recording, CT scanning, nursery quarantines, and an AI quarantine. Delta Canada is part of a total upgrade of the high health SPF breeding structure for TN Tempo and Z-line in North America. This integrated approach leads to a 50% increase in genetic progress.

Delta Canada performance test center in Woodlands, Manitoba is the central point in a new breeding structure of the terminal boar line TN Tempo and the Z-line, one of the parent lines of the TN70 sow. It is a double-sized copy of the Delta test station in Norway that is used in the breeding program for the Norsvin Duroc terminal line and the Norsvin Landrace, which is the other parent line for the TN70. Together with the rest of the upgraded breeding structure in Canada, Delta Canada brings extra added value for our customers.

Central testing

Delta Canada is a test location with a capacity of 2600 pigs that centrally tests young nucleus boars born on the nucleus farms within Delta Canada’s breeding structure. Central testing is more efficient, uniform and accurate. The boars are tested in the same environment and under the same conditions. Central testing also makes it possible to introduce new, high-tech, phenotyping technologies such as CT-scanning. The end result is the selection of better boars for the genetic improvement program and our customers.

Each year, over 38,000 young boars are born in the nucleus farms in Delta Canada’s breeding structure. Ultimately, only the best 50-70 boars per line are used to produce the next generation in the nucleus herds.

CT scanning

A CT scanner is one of the test station’s unique features. Topigs Norsvin is the first and only swine genetics company in the world to use CT scanning on a large scale on live animals. With CT (computed tomography) many traits can be measured on a live pig. The data produced is very accurate and leads to more reliable breeding values, which results in more genetic progress and better products.

CT scanning offers new possibilities such as measuring real carcass composition on live animals. This improves the breeding accuracy for aspects like primal cut yield. CT scanning also allows pigs less susceptible for osteochondrosis to be selected, which improves breeding for more robustness.

Part of an upgraded infrastructure

Research Center Delta Canada is just one essential part of a bigger breeding structure Topigs Norsvin has built in Canada to boost genetic progress. Other essential elements of this new breeding structure are nucleus farms in the region around Delta Canada. The TN Tempo nucleus herd doubled recently to 1000 great-great parent (GGP) sows, and the Z-line GGP population in Canada recently expanded to 2000 sows. These bigger nucleus populations make it possible to increase selection intensity.

Data from commercial farms

Besides nucleus farms, commercial farms also play an important role in gathering data for breeding value calculations. With CCPS, which stands for Combined Crossbred and Purebred Selection, huge amounts of genetics performance data are gathered from commercial farms. Conditions on these farms are comparable to those on our customers’ farms. This data is vital for the breeding program because it inputs the performance on farms where the genetics must demonstrate its value. That improves the reliability of the breeding values for crossbred performance.

Genome and carcass information

Genotyping is a standard element in swine genetics nowadays. About 35,000 animals per year (young boars and gilts) are genotyped in the Delta Canada system. This results in massive quantities of data about the genotype of pigs used in selection and the calculation of breeding values. This makes it easier to breed for difficult to measure traits and traits that cannot be measured in the selection candidates, such as genetic predisposition for fertility in boars.

Topigs Norsvin’s breeding program also considers aspects of meat and carcass quality. A special meat lab is therefore part of the breeding structure. In this lab, analyses are performed on meat quality aspects like drip loss, intramuscular fat and, color. This data obtained are used to breed and select for quality aspects.

50% increase in genetic progress

Delta Canada and the rest of the breeding structure around it result in an increased genetic progress of more than 50%. That makes it possible to respond faster to changing market situations at the customer level. Customers in all continents will benefit from the fast and efficient distribution of Delta Canada’s superior genetic material.

As genetic progress is faster with the new breeding structure, getting the newest generation to our customers quickly it is more important than ever. Thanks to our centrally located AI center and the entire system’s high health SPF level, we can rapidly and efficiently distribute the newest genetics throughout the world.

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