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DanAvl: One of the world’s highest performing pig breeding programmes.

The Danish breeding programme, DanAvl, which develops and sells pig genetics across the world, aims to be one of the world´s largest global suppliers of genetics by 2020. Moreover, it is intent on quadrupling its turnover, which currently stands at DKK 1.5 billion (approx. GBP 166 million).

“Yes, we’re very ambitious,” says Trine Vig, Product Manager of DanAvl. “In 2012, we had 42 multiplication herds outside Denmark selling stock to commercial farms. This increased to 76 in 2013, with new multipliers coming on board almost every month. In other words, we’re growing through export from Denmark, but also – and certainly not least - through establishing multiplication herds abroad. We’re also strengthening our distributor network. We currently have 14 licensed distributors who are contracted by the Danish Pig Research Centre to sell DanAvl genetics.”

The Danish Pig Research Centre does not engage in commercial activities themselves. They run the breeding programme, manage research and development and contribute to technical support and training to distributors as required. The distributors then handle all matters relating to pricing, sales and support before and after sales.

DanAvl’s main markets are Denmark, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands. More than half of DanAvl’s revenue comes from abroad. From 2010 to 2012, there was a 35% increase in genetic royalties, and this trend is expected to continue.

Economic value

The DanAvl programme currently has seven traits in its breeding objective: high daily weight gain, high meat percentage, increased carcass percentage, improved feed conversion, improved longevity, improved conformation and increased litter size and survival rate - known as LP5 or number of live piglets at five days after farrowing.

“All the traits in our breeding programme must deliver an economic value and selection for these seven traits aims to maximise profit for our farmers,” explains Trine.

Among DanAvl’s future breeding goals will be continued focus on the strength and conformation of DanAvl sows, as well as environmental concerns and productivity, which contribute to feed conversion and daily weight gain for finishers. The company will also consider genetic value assessment, which includes social interactions which can improve daily weight gain and will continue to explore whether new traits can be incorporated into the breeding objective, such as boar taint and sow mothering abilities.

“We’re currently carrying out a trial at our boar testing station where we are taking tissue samples from the boars that go to AI stations, and boars that go for slaughter are being tested for presence of boar taint using the human nose method. So far, we’ve found evidence that DanAvl Duroc and DanAvl Yorkshire are low on boar taint whereas DanAvl Landrace is a little higher, so we know that genetics has a role to play. However, there’s much more work to be done in this area.”   

As demand for food increases, there is a need for genetics of the highest quality. Major emerging markets such as China will need to increase their production to meet the demands of a rising population. With its package of some of the world’s best genetics, professional advice and solutions from specialists with years of breeding and production experience, DanAvl is well placed to become a leading player in providing food production solutions across the globe.    

For more information on Danavl, visit: http://www.danavl.com/.