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Photo of Improving udder quality traits in sows to aid survival, health and lifetime performance of piglets

Ben Williams

Knowledge Transfer Senior Manager

AHDB Pork Knowledge Exchange

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Improving udder quality traits in sows to aid survival, health and lifetime performance of piglets

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Research partners: Newcastle University

Sponsors: AHDB Pork-funded studentship (Agnese Balzani)

Duration: 2012–2015 

Aims and objectives

  • Develop a methodology to describe a sow udder (eg conformation, ease of colostrum extraction)
  • Determine the causes of udder conformation variation and define how measures change over the reproductive cycle and lifetime of the sow
  • Investigate the relationship between udder conformation and piglet suckling behaviour and litter performance
  • Evaluate an on-farm method to estimate colostrum quality and study the relationship between udder morphology and colostrum quality
  • Estimate the heritability of key udder traits and colostrum quality, and their genetic correlations with other important maternal selection criteria. 

Findings

An ideal udder:

  • At least 12 functional teats
  • Teats situated equal distance from one another
  • Small teat length and diameter
  • Close to the abdominal mid-line 

More detailed findings will be available later in the year. 

Further information