Genetic Correlations Between Production and Semen Traits

North Carolina State University Swine Genetics Research from 2003. Currently, boars selected for commercial use as AI sires are evaluated on grow-finish performance and carcass characteristics. If AI sires were also evaluated and selected on semen production, it may be possible to reduce the number of boars required to service sows, thereby improving the productivity and profitability of the boar stud. The objective of this study was to estimate genetic correlations between production and semen traits in the boar: average daily gain (ADG), back fat thickness (BF) and muscle depth (MD) as production traits, and total sperm cells (TSC), total concentration (TC), volume collected (SV), number of extended doses (ND), and acceptance rate of ejaculates (AR) as semen traits. Semen collection records and performance data for 843 boars and two generations of pedigree data were provided by NPD USA. Back fat thickness and MD were measured by real-time ultrasound. Genetic parameters were estimated from five four-trait andone five-trait animal models using MTDFREML. Average heritability estimates were 0.39 for ADG, 0.32 for BF, 0.15 for MD, and repeatability estimates were 0.38 for SV, 0.37 for TSC,0.09 for TC, 0.39 for ND, and 0.16 for AR. Semen traits showed a strong negative genetic correlation with MD and positive genetic correlation with BF. Genetic correlations between semen traits and ADG were low. Therefore, current AI boar selection practices may be having a detrimental effect on semen production.