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Agnese Balzani

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Agnese Balzani

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

Agnese Balzani - Newcastle University
Duration - 2012-2015 

Agnese studied animal science at the University of Bologna and then worked for two years as a research technician in a laboratory for analysis of food and animal products before starting her PhD

Project Aims and Objectives
The overall aim of this project is to develop methods to classify and improve udder traits (e.g. conformation, ease of colostrum extraction, colostrum quality) in sows, which will enhance piglet survival, immune status and long term performance.

Potential Benefit to Industry:
Piglet mortality is a major source of financial loss to the British industry. The importance of the acquisition of passive immunity in the first 24h of life for subsequent lifetime health and performance makes this a key contributory factor in raising the health status of the British herd, a key AHDB Pork objective and to overall farm profitability. A practical method to determine udder conformation and colostrum quality will allow a breeding company to take udder traits and colostrum composition into account, allowing the selection of sows with better nursing capacity and improving colostrum accessibility and quality. This should in turn increase number and quality of weaned piglets and hence annual meat output and animal welfare.

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