Animal Science, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version

September 2003


Published in J. Anim. Sci. 2003. 81:2409–2418. Copyright American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


The purpose of this article is to describe a program for evaluation of seedstock populations in the swine industry. Differences among seedstock populations for economically important traits must be identified in order for pork producers to efficiently use available genetic resources. National genetic evaluation programs have the potential to identify the important differences among populations and to increase the rate of genetic improvement in a population. Program results provide performance benchmarks that stimulate testing and selection procedures by seedstock suppliers that further increase the rate of genetic improvement. A Terminal Sire Line Genetic Evaluation Program was designed and conducted in the United States by the National Pork Producers Council (Des Moines, IA) to compare seedstock populations for use in crossbreeding systems. High levels of statistical accuracy for program results were established; the ability to detect differences of 0.25 SD per trait, a power of test of 75%, and a 5% significance level were selected. Pure breeds and breeding company sire lines were nominated for the program. Semen was collected from nominated boars and distributed to cooperating commercial producers during eight 1-wk breeding periods. Pigs were produced in 136 commercial herds and transported to testing facilities at 8 to 23 d of age. Nine of the 11 sire lines originally entered in the program completed the sampling requirements for statistical analysis. High levels of statistical accuracy and a large, representative sample of boars with restrictions on genetic relationships ensured that the program results included unbiased, highly accurate sire line data for growth, carcass, meat quality, and eating quality traits of economic importance. This program has shown commercial producers that they have several choices of sire lines for changing their crossbreeding programs in desired trait areas. Commercial product evaluation must be an ongoing process, and this program serves as a model for future testing and evaluation of diverse genetic seedstock populations.