November, the last litter of 2018. Cold as heck outside. Warmer next to your momma.
This gilt was featured in one of my farm videos last year. She is one of the piglets in the video. I made the video because I was excited for new genetics. This gilt and her siblings, were sired by Chester White semen I purchased from a boar stud in Iowa.
I wanted to try the Chester White breed because it is know for mothering ability and meat quality, two of the traits most important in my swine herd. Also, Chester White is an American Heritage breed.
I love eating “General Tso’s Chicken” at the Chinese restaurant in town. And I’m sure “General Tso’s Chicken” is heritage food to someone, but its not my heritage. Farmers, let’s make our own heritage!
Back to this Chester White experiment. I kept all five of the gilts from that litter and bred them to my Duroc boar. They have done well, good mothers. Interestingly, they don’t have as many piglets born as my Landrace genetics. They seem to be very similar to my Duroc genetics, as I always select for mothering ability and meat quality when I purchase Duroc semen as well.
What’s nice is that I was able to conduct this experiment in a relatively short amount of time as the generation interval in swine is about a year. The generation interval is the amount of time it takes for any species to reproduce itself. In cattle its about two years.
The generation interval is important to geneticists and animal breeders because it adds a time element to any “progress” that can be made in a species. I put “progress” in quotes because geneticists and animal breeders are people like you and me. And like you and me, its way easier to make change for change’s sake, than to stop and figure out where exactly you want to go and why, and if its going to be a good when you get there.
Okay, if you’ve made it this far, comment and let me know what you think about “heritage” and “progress”. And check out my youtube channel if you want to see more of our farm. Thanks!