Ability and use
The PIETRAIN is the undisputed leader of the modern breeds in carcass performance: it combines an exceptional muscle content with a remarkable carcass yield. In spite of this important muscle development, the PIETRAIN is very strong on its legs.
The PIETRAIN is also characterised by a very good feed efficiency, although its low appetite limits its growth rate.
The meat quality of the PIETRAIN is often criticized because of a high frequency of PSE meat (pale, moist and exudative) which is related to the very high frequency of the halothane sensitivity gene in the population. However, this disadvantage almost completely disappears in crossbred pigs provided that the partner breed of the PIETRAIN breed is free of the halothane sensitivity gene.
PIETRAIN sows are known to be very good mothers and show good maternal skills for a specialised male breed.
The PIETRAIN breed is mainly used for the production of PIETRAIN x LARGE WHITE crossbred boars. As a result, it accounts for 25% of the genes for pigs for slaughter in a large number of pig breeding organisations. In some French regions (North, East), it is used as a purebred terminal boar to satisfy well-defined local markets.
The selection of the PIETRAIN breed is based on the same general framework as for the LARGE WHITE and LANDRACE FRANCAIS breeds: choice of the best animals from on-farm and on-station performance control, and use of the BLUP methodology – animal model – to calculate genetic values.
The selection objectives aim to improve production performance (average daily gain, consumption index, muscle rate and carcass yield) while maintaining meat quality at a constant level over time. The latest annual genetic developments show a stability of meat quality over time despite a clear genetic progress on carcass performance. Due to the increasing use of PIETRAIN as a component of a crossbred boar, selection is moving towards leaner animals with improved growth rates.
PIETRAIN is a blocky animal native from Belgium, recognized as the leanest pig breed. It is a stress sensitive breed, with a very high frequency of the halothane gene. PIETRAIN is mainly used in crossbreeding programs as a purebred terminal boar or as a component of a crossbred boar. The breeding goal is to improve daily gain, food conversion, meat percentage and carcass yield, and to maintain meat quality traits at a constant level over the years. The breeding progress achieved over the last years corresponds to those expectations.