The pig farmer, no matter how good, cannot do better than the pig’s genetic potential for production. Improvement in the productive parameters such as litter size, average weight gain, mothering ability and muscling ability can be achieved only through selection of pigs with superior genetic makeup as the parents for the next generation.
Since the main objective of pig farming is production of meat, the pig farmers must learn to select those pigs that can be manipulated through breeding and management in order to tap their optimum potential for meat production.
There are many different breeds of pigs worldwide but only those that have significant influence on pork production are always discussed.
The farmer’s choice for those breeds primarily depends on the conditions under which they are reared for thus farmers need to first establish why they are raising pigs for; breeding versus fattening (pork production). Many farmers usually start as breeders and then end up fattening their pigs which isn’t bad but wasn’t part of the program. This is usually due to the scarcity of market for piglets as a result of inappropriate planning by the farmers. You actually find your today’s customers for piglets becoming your future competitors.
Globally, pig breeds are categorized in two depending on certain production parameters (production performance) which include the Maternal and Paternal breeds.
1. Maternal breeds: These are recognized for their large litter size, high fertility rate, good mother ability, good weaning rates, etc and they include; Yorkshire commonly known as large white and Landrace.
2. Paternal breeds: These are well known for their high growth rate, high muscling ability, good meat and carcass quality characteristics such as proportion of lean-to fats among others. Paternal breeds include; Duroc, Pietrain, Hampshire, Berkshire, spotted etc.
Pietrain breed is infrequently used independently due to its inferior feature of too much leanness.
NB: Camborough pig is not a pure breed but an exceptional cross of Yorkshire and Landrace. The name itself applies only First generation gilts (YL/LY) of Pig improvement Company ( PIC).
Crossing Camborough with either Duroc or cross of Duroc and Pietrain produces market pigs or off-springs meant for fattening.