Prairie Swine Centre

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Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan


Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:



Author(s): C. Christensen
Publication Date: January 1, 1994
Reference: Prairie Swine Centre Annual Research Report 1994 pp. 47-50
Country: Canada

Summary:

Reproductive efficiency is of low heritability. In the past, attempts to improve reproductive efficiency have focused on crossbreeding. The turnover rate of breeding stock in western Canada is quite high with about 40% of the average herd made up of replacement gilts. Gilts tend to have smaller litter sizes, which has been correlated to a lower number of eggs released from ovary in gilts relative to sows. The Animal Biotechnology Group at the University of Saskatchewan is attempting to develop a performance enhancement vaccine, which will increase the number of piglets farrowed to a gilt to bring gilts up to the performance level of sows. Understanding the physiology of the reproductive cycle has allowed scientists to make predictions on how to influence ovulation rate by modifying the levels of each of the different hormones. With failed attempts in the past, investigators have been attempting new, more specific methods to manipulate the reproductive cycle. A performance enhancement vaccine uses immunomodulation to stimulate an animals immune system to improve its own productivity. The advantage of this method over administering hormones is its specificity and duration of activity. It is possible to precisely modulate a hormone. The same has been done in the past by giving hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. Consumer acceptance of hormone administration to meat animals is decreasing and immunomodulation should be more acceptable. Immunomodulation leaves no residues following treatment since the antibodies used are completely broken down into amino acids and reused by the animal. The Animal Biotechnology Group is working with the Prairie Swine Centre to study and develop performance enhancing vaccines.

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