Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

April 1977


Published in JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE, Vol. 44, No. 4 (1977). Copyright American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


This study involved the records of 339 purebred Duroc, Hampshire and Yorkshire gilts and 192 two-breed cross gilts resulting from matings among the three breeds. The primary purpose of this paper was to investigate the relationship of prebreeding traits, including the growth of the gilt and her littermates, with subsequent measures of reproduction. Heritabilities were estimated for several traits and in general the estimates were somewhat higher than most estimates in the literature. Genetically, all measures of growth were favorably and moderately to highly correlated to ovulation rate, with the relationship being stronger for traits measured late in growth as compared to traits measured early in growth. The only traits that had large genetic correlations with number of corpora lutea per embryo were birth weight (rg=-.90) and weaning weight (rg=.91).

None of the phenotypic correlations between prebreeding traits and reproductive traits were large and only eight of the 68 correlations were significant. Gilts which grew faster, were younger at 100 kg, were heavier at breeding and had more days from 100 kg to breeding also had higher ovulation rates. Gilts which were heavier and older at breeding and had more days from 100 kg to breeding also had more embryos.

A stepwise regression procedure was used to find the "best" model to predict ovulation rate (CL), number of embryos (EMB), embryo per corpora lutea (E/CL) and corpora lutea per embryo (CL/E). The "best" model accounted for only 15%, 18%, 9% and 6% of the variation in CL, EMB, E/CL and CL/E, respectively.