A combination of high health and rapid genetic improvement coupled
with generations of breeding experience led to a boom in exports of
British breeding pigs. Breeders from all over the globe have
imported British pedigree pigs to take advantage of superior
production traits that include: fast growth, low food conversion,
maximum lean meat and unrivalled sow productivity. The world wide
trade in British pedigree pigs and semen has been so great that it
would be easier to list the countries that have not imported British
pig breeding stock rather than those that have.
Modern pig breeding programmes incorporate the latest advances in
information technology with computerised recording systems that
monitor the pigs’ performance 24 hours per day.
Biotechnology in the form of DNA testing allows harmful genetic
traits such as susceptibility to stress to be managed. The latest
multi-trait BLUP evaluation programmes are used by BPA to provide
Estimated Breeding Values for pedigree breeders. However the role of
the experienced pedigree breeder remains key to the success of these
programmes as the final product is still a live animal that is
judged by the customer as it comes off the lorry or the plane.