A successful pig farmer always uses good breeding animals. The piglets that are produced must grow fast and produce quality carcasses with a high percentage of meat and a small quantity of fat.
Therefore, when you buy breeding animals, make sure that the pigs come from a farm known to have pigs of good quality and where the management and standard of hygiene are excellent. When buying pigs for the first time, it is advisable to take someone along who has the necessary knowledge and experience.
In the case of a small-scale farm, with 20 or fewer breeding sows, the following selection and breeding program can be used:
-Always buy good (above average) purebred boars. Buy from a farmer of repute who keeps good records so that the performance of the boar and his parents are known.
-Buy boars from prominent breeds used in South Africa, such as the Landrace and Large White.
-When buying gilts (young female pigs) for the first time, make sure that they come from a breeder with good pigs and who keeps accurate records. The gilts need not be purebred but can be crossbred pigs, e.g., Landrace or Large White sows crossed with boars from other breeds.
-When, at a later stage, you want to select your own gilts for breeding, it is important to apply strict selection measures and to keep accurate records of growth and feed conversion. If you do not have a record system, it will be advisable to buy replacement gilts.
-Always buy gilts from the same breeder (farm) and make sure that a breeding plan (policy) is used. Consult an adviser, if necessary. If pigs are always bought from the same breeder, it is advisable to let him dictate the breeding policy.