Basic swine production and management, part 2: Breeding

By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao 

Most Filipino dishes such as adobo, sinigang, and menudo have pork as a key ingredient in them. This shows how Filipinos love consuming the protein and gives aspiring pig raisers a glimpse of how large the demand is for the meat. 

A webinar broadcasted by the Agricultural Training Institute in Northern Mindanao via their Facebook page teaches some of the basics of swine production and management so that farmers and raisers can get a better and faster understanding of the process. 

In the previous article, Aleli Jean Paulican from the technical support staff of ATI-Regional Training Center in Region X talked about the different breeds of pigs and their characteristics. Here, she discusses the difference between pure breeds and hybrids, as well as the different breeding processes. 

Hybrids vs. pure breeds and the breeding processes

“One common question among pig raisers is the difference between hybrids and pure breeds,” Paulican said. 

Pure breeds, she explained, are baseline breeds or breeds that are used to create better offspring when partnered with another kind. Examples of this include the Large White and Landrace. 

The offspring of pure breeds are known as hybrids and they possess the characteristics from either the sow or the boar or both. 

When it comes to breeding, there are four processes that swine raisers can engage in. These are pure breeding, cross breeding, in-breeding, and upgrading. 

First is in-breeding. This process involves breeding two closely-related animals together such as fathers with daughters, sons with mothers, or brothers and sisters. The effects of this process include a decreased number of offspring, reduced strength and vigor in piglets, and decreased birth and weaning weight among others. 

The second process is pure breeding. This takes two unrelated animals of the same kind and is usually done to maintain the breed stock. 

Meanwhile, the third process known as cross-breeding is the opposite of pure-breeding. By taking two animals from different breeds and partnering them, their offspring, which are now known as hybrids, have a big chance of retaining the good qualities of their parents. 

As for the last breeding process known as upgrading, this takes the Philippine native pig and breeding it with purebred foreign breeds to upgrade the characteristics that the native breed already has. 

Various pig farm operations

In putting up a pig farm, Paulican said that aside from determining which breed to use for it is also advisable to learn about the different operations that can be done by either small or large-scale farms.

One is the sow-weaner operation where sows are bred and farrowed, or cared for until they give birth, to produce weaner piglets or those that have just recently stopped breastfeeding that are to be sold to a finisher operation. 

Weaners weigh around 20 to 25 kilograms and can be sold when they are about seven to eight weeks. 

“This process has a quick turnover because the cycle lasts around 160 to 170 days before it can turn a profit,” Paulican said. 

Next is the finisher operation. As mentioned, it purchases 20 to 25 kilogram weaners and feeds them until they reach the desired market weight. In comparison to a sow-weaner operation, this has a faster turnover since it lasts only around 100 to 120 days. Plus, it requires less capital for buildings and equipment. 

In the meantime, a combination of these two is the farrow-finish operation where the farm engages in breeding and farrowing sows, as well as raising the offspring until it reaches the desired market weight. 

Paulican said that this model is more viable based on the market’s stability and the pig raiser has better control on the breeding program. However, this operation may require a larger capital for the buildings and operating expenses. 

Another possible operation for a pig farm is the breeder operation where the goal is to create parent stocks. This operation has a slight advantage since the price of stocks are usually unregulated except by market demand. 

“Farmers can earn a good amount from this operation especially with the rising numbers of people who are interested in venturing into pig raising,” Paulican said. 

The last operation is the boar operation. Here, boars are the only ones maintained for either natural breeding services or artificial insemination. However, this may need a large capital because it requires a laboratory and laboratory equipment for semen storage and processing.

“When it comes to choosing the right operation, the type and size of the enterprise must depend on economic viability, available capital, as well as the expertise and capability to do the job,” Paulican said. 

For the continuation of the article, Paulican will share the basic requirements for producing and caring for swine.

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Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Patricia Taculao, or Patty as she likes to be called, is a content producer for Manila Bulletin Digital Lifestyle. She graduated from University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She loves to spend her free time, reading, painting, and watching old movies.

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