The Breeding of purebred livestock is a diminishing trend as the need for faster growing animals with hybrid vigour dominates our markets. This is true not only in cattle, chickens and sheep but also in pigs with most of the National herd represented by F1 hybrids or developed hybrid strains .There is no doubt that hybrid animals have advantages with increased Average Daily Gain (ADG),Feed Conversion Ratio ( FCR), Litter size and overall vigor in both piglets and growers and these advantages are widely sort by producers that are competing in a very competitive and price driven environment.
Worldwide 3 breeds of domestic livestock disappear every month and it is in light of this that we must cherish and protect our Pure Bred pig herd in Australia!
Pure breeds are breeds that after their initial development have been in existence for 40 years with no outside influences (eg crossbreeding) and that this is evidenced by the formation and maintenance of a herd book. Selective breeding (either naturally or by a breeder) for qualities and traits make animals pre-potent for certain physical characteristics and it is these very differences which make one breed suit a certain environment or carcass market better than another.
Pure breeds are very important in the formation of F1 hybrids and for terminal sires, the pre-potency for selected traits can ensure a good and predictable result for the breeder. The crossing of crossbreds does not guarantee such consistency.
Pure bred or Stud pigs in Australia are registered with the Australian Pig Breeders Association at Kiama. They are identified using ear notching or tattooing.
Currently there are 9 breeds registered with the Association including
- Large White
- Duroc (initially called Duroc Jersey)
- Wessex Saddleback
- Large Black or British Black
- Welsh (last registration 1995)
- Poland China
- Gloustershire Old Spot
- Middle White
As new genetic material is not allowed into Australia the loss of any pure breed is extremely relevant.
This seems ludicrous given the amount of pork which is imported however there is some risk of disease in semen which far outweighs the potential gains. This is frustrating for the breeders of Rare breeds where the problems related to in breeding are inevitable particularly in small isolated herds.