French Pig genetics: France is one of the leaders in global pig production

France is one of the leaders in global pig production.

A tightly woven industry ensuring products safety and quality from farm to table: producer cooperatives manage animal transport and ensure that farms are optimally monitored for health safety and traceability.

The selection process

The pig production process may be visualized as a three-level selection pyramid: selection herds, multiplier herds, and production herds. The pyramid is used to optimize cross-breeding plans, which combine the specific assets of different genotypes and heterosis. Selection is organized through government-regulated French Pig Selection Organizations that coordinate and guide genetic improvement. Breed selection programs gather data regarding genealogy, reproductive performance, growth,carcass type and meat quality. BLUP methodology (animal model) is used to evaluate the genetic value of potential selection and multiplier breeders. With the mapping of the pig genome, research programs have been able to highlight genetic markers that can be used for Marker Assisted Selection (MAS).
Current developments in sequencing techniques are opening the way to the possibility of implementing genome-based selection that would allow new breeding goals, such as resistance to illness, to be included in selection programs.

the main breeds used in France

Genetics-driven selective breeding

Selective breeding pyramid: selective breeding is organized around a pyramid structure, starting with an essentially purebreed selection level. Breed lines are selected based on different criteria. An LW line (female ancestry) has been prolificness-enhanced (number of live-born piglets per litter). Other lines have been exploited to improve feed conversion efficiency and carcass quality criteria (male ancestry). The second level down selects for reproductivity. These farms produce breeding stock. The very best animals are selected for specifically-defined criteria and independently inspected under French Ministry for Agriculture governance.

Time-course progress in performance criteria: this organization, coupled with the inspection controls implemented, has made the French pork sector substantially more competitive. Figures show that number of live-born piglets has jumped from under 11 in 1990 to over 13.5 in 2009 (a gain of 3.2 piglets over the 1992-2009 period). In parallel, enhancements to boar breedlines have improved feed conversion efficiency. The feed conversion ratio for the male LW breedline was cut 0.34 over the 1992-2009 period. This equates to feed savings of 27 kg per pig produced (30-110 kg).

A strict Animal Health Program

Animal health is an essential success factor for French Pig Selection Organizations

The health Program: Twofold approach

The French Ministry of Agriculture and local governmental veterinary services oversee the legal framework that certifies animal health status for the entire industry for all diseases on the OIE’s List A (Aujeszky’s disease, classical swine fever, brucellosis, etc.). All members of the genetics field are subject to a monitoring plan implemented in nucleus and multiplier herds as well as in artificial insemination centers to ensure the health status of farms and provide for rapid intervention in the event of an infectious disease outbreak. Additionally, voluntary measures implemented by Pig Selection Organizations ensure that safeguards are maintained with regard to diseases that have significant economic impact on farms for all industry partners and customers. These measures include veterinary oversight for selection and multiplier farms and a monitoring plan for the major known porcine respiratory and digestive diseases. A group of experts headed by the IFIP-Pork Institute meets regularly to report on emerging diseases and to issue instructions and suggestions for disease monitoring and disease eradication plans.

An International Reputation

Rigorous health guarantees, a nation-wide traceability program, and the superior
performance of breeder animals selected in France: these factors have brought French pig breeders to the forefront of the global market. French swine genetics is used in more than 70 countries on all five continents.


Selection organization - genetics watch
Phone: +33 (0)
Send an e-mail

Genetics department manager
Phone: +33 (0)2 99 60 98 56
Send an e-mail

See also...

The Genetics section presents information about genetic assessment, performance sampling, preservetion of genetic biodiversity, genomics and more...