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The Building Blocks of Modern Pig Breeding and Production Systems

For over 100 years British pedigree breeding stock have been the foundation of pig breeding programmes around the world. The British Pig Association, formerly know as the National Pig Breeders Association, was established in 1884, ten years before the opening of Tower Bridge in London. Before the end of the 19th century renowned breeders such as Sanders-Spencer were exporting breeding stock as far a field as North America, Russia and Australia.

Herd BookHerd Book

Breed improvement in those early days before computers was achieved by the skill of pedigree breeders, with an eye for good stock, selecting within their own herds and then testing their animals in open competition at livestock shows and carcase competitions. This knowledge and experience was passed on from father to son over generations.

Governmentís role was to licence all boars that were to be sold for breeding and all these boars had to be pedigree registered.

After the Second World War, when backyard pig keeping had been encouraged, there was a move to introduce more technology into breed improvement. The Pig Industry Development Authority was established to run a network of testing stations carrying out progeny testing programmes that included performance testing and carcase evaluation. Ultrasonic testing on live animals was introduced as the Meat and Livestock Commission central testing programme took over the role of PIDA. As part of this programme the highest indexing boars off test were offered to public AI centres to raise the overall performance of the national herd. This programme, established in the 1960ís was the model for pig improvement programmes around the world.

During this time several new pedigree breeds were imported to the UK. These breeds were incorporated into the national breeding programme and selected under British testing regimes. The Landrace was the first to be introduced followed by the Hampshire, the Duroc and most recently the Pietrain.

  Peter Briers' father passes on his experience to ensure that the traditional art of breeding combined with the modern science of genetics goes from generation to generation.
 

Peter Briers' father passes on his experience to ensure that the traditional art of breeding combined with the modern science of genetics goes from generation to generation.

 
 

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