Impact of swine reproductive technologies on pig and global food production

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Reproductive technologies have dramatically changed the way pigs are raised for pork production in developed and developing countries. This has involved such areas as pigs produced/sow, more consistent pig fl ow to market, pig growth rate and feed effi ciency, carcass yield and quality, labor effi ciency, and pig health. Some reproductive technologies are in widespread use for commercial pork operations [Riesenbeck, Reprod Domest Anim 46:1-3, 2011] while others are in limited use in specifi c segments of the industry [Knox, Reprod Domest Anim 46:4-6, 2011]. Signifi cant changes in the effi ciency of pork production have occurred as a direct result of the use of reproductive technologies that were intended to improve the transfer of genes important for food production [Gerrits et al., Theriogenology 63:283-299, 2005]. While some technologies focused on the effi ciency of gene transfer, others addressed fertility and labor issues. Among livestock species, pig reproductive effi ciency appears to have achieved exceptionally high rates of performance (PigCHAMP 2011 ) [Benchmark 2011, Ames, IA, 12-16]. From the maternal side, this includes pigs born per litter, farrowing rate, as well as litters per sow per year. On the male side, boar fertility, sperm production, and sows served per sire have improved as well [Knox et al., Theriogenology, 70:1202-1208, 2008]. These shifts in the effi ciency of swine fertility have resulted in the modern pig as one of the most effi cient livestock species for global food production. These reproductive changes have predominantly occurred in developed countries, but data suggests transfer and adoption of these in developing countries as well (FAO STAT 2009 ; FAS 2006 ) [World pig meat production: food and agriculture organization of the United Nations, 2009; FAS, 2006) Worldwide Pork Production, 2006]. Technological advancements in swine reproduction have had profound effects on industry structure, production, effi ciency, quality, and profi tability. In all cases, the adoption of these technologies has aided in the creation of a sustainable supply of safe and affordable pork for consumers around the world [den Hartog, Adv Pork Prod 15:17-24, 2004].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCurrent and Future Reproductive Technologies and World Food Production
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9781461488866
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598


  • Farrowing
  • Livestock
  • Pork production
  • Reproductive effi ciency
  • Swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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