1st Page

Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Production

The economic and environmental value of genetic improvements in fattening pigs: An integrated dynamic model approach1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 93 No. 8, p. 4161-4171
    Received: Mar 16, 2015
    Accepted: June 17, 2015
    Published: August 3, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. J. K. Niemi 2*,
  2. M.-L. Sevón-Aimonen,
  3. A. H. Stygar33 and
  4. K. Partanen§44
  1. * Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Economics and Society, Kampusranta 9, FI-60320 Seinäjoki, Finland
     Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Green Technology, FI-31600 Jokioinen, Finland
     MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Economic Research, Latokartanonkaari 9, FI-00790 Helsinki, Finland
    § MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Animal production research, FI-31600 Jokioinen, Finland


The selection of animals for improved performance affects the profitability of pig fattening and has environmental consequences. The goal of this paper was to examine how changes in genetic and market parameters impact the biophysical (feeding patterns, timing of slaughter, nitrogen excretion) and economic (return per pig space unit) results describing pig fattening in a Finnish farm. The analysis can be viewed as focusing on terminal line breeding goals. An integrated model using recursive stochastic dynamic programming and a biological pig growth model was used to estimate biophysical results and economic values. Combining these models allowed us to provide more accurate estimates for the value of genetic improvement and, thus, provide better feedback to animal breeding programs than the traditional approach, which is based on fixed management patterns. Besides the benchmark scenario, the results were simulated for 5 other scenarios. In each scenario, genotype was improved regarding daily growth potential, carcass lean meat content, or the parameters of the Gompertz growth curve (maturing rate [φi], adult weight of protein [αp], and adult weight of lipid mass [αL]). The change in each parameter was equal to approximately 1 SD genetic improvement (ceteris paribus). Increasing φi, αp, daily growth potential, or carcass lean meat content increased the return on pig space unit by €12.60, €7.60, €4.10, or €2.90 per year, respectively, whereas an increase in αL decreased the return by €3.10. The genetic improvement in αL and φi resulted in the highest decrease in nitrogen excretion calculated in total or per kilogram of carcass gain but only under the optimal feeding pattern. Simulated changes in the Gompertz growth function parameters imply greater changes in ADG and lean meat content than changes in scenarios focusing on improving ADG and lean meat content directly. The economic value of genetic improvements as well as the quantity of nitrogen excreted during the fattening period largely depends on feeding. Improved genotypes can require changes in pig management pattern. Estimating the influence of the genotype on the nitrogen excretion without considering changes in the management pattern can result in flawed conclusions. To improve overall economic performance and to decrease the environmental footprint of fattening pig production, the pig producer can adjust the herd management pattern according to the pigs’ genetics.

  Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.

Copyright © 2015. American Society of Animal Science