Improving udder quality traits in sows to aid survival, health and lifetime performance of piglets
Research partners: Newcastle University
Sponsors: AHDB Pork-funded studentship (Agnese Balzani)
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.
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.