Meishan Pig Bloodlines-Truth or Fiction

Meishan Pig Bloodlines-Truth or Fiction

 

Meishan Pig Bloodlines 

The concept of Meishan Pig bloodlines has been from time to time controversial.It has been the subject of many discussions.  I would like to directly address the subject of bloodlines. Our farm is the only farm to  have pure examples of all three of the recognized research herd bloodlines. The bloodlines recognized by the American Meishan Breeders Association are the University of Illinois(Illinois),Iowa State (Iowa) and the USDA Meat Animal Research Center(USDA).

Are there even true bloodlines?

The concept of the three distinct Meishan Pig bloodlines is based on a 2014  USDA Study on Genetic Drift on US Meishan Pig groups .This study was performed by Harvey Blackburn of the USDA. Harvey is an Animal Geneticist and the Coordinator of the National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP). What the study did was to compare DNA from the original Meishan pigs imported in 1989 to DNA samples from the USDA Meishan Pig herd and the Iowa State Meishan Pig herd almost 20 years later.What Harvey found was that both herds has drifted genetically. Both from the original import herd and from each other. Illinois was not sampled because at the time of the study the USDA wasnt aware that Illinois still maintained a nucleus Meishan herd. The result of the study found the USDA herd to be genetically closer to the original import herd than the Iowa State line. I have talked to Harvey personally several times (as recently as October 2018) . He has confirmed on multiple occasions  the validity of the three bloodline concept.in the Meishan breed.

Are there differences in the Meishan Pig bloodlines? 

The short answer is in some areas definitely yes.And in other areas definitely no. We have bred or farrowed 20 different Meishan Piglet litters from 8 unique boars and 11 unique sows. These farrowings produced over 200 Meishan piglets and involved both pure bloodline matings and crossed bloodline matings. In addition we have kept in contact with  breeders in 20 different states who raise Meishan Pigs bred here on our farm.. The following are the areas where the 3 Meishan Pig bloodlines are different and where they are not.

No differences in Meishan Pig bloodlines characteristics:

Simply there is no difference in the three lines when it comes to the following characteristics:

  • Temperament and pasture behavior: All Meishan Pig Bloodlines are docile and are indiscernible in the pasture when it comes to docile nature,ability to co-pasture .If they receive proper nutrition they all have minimum impacts on pastures..
  • Teats: All are typically in the 16+ level of teats.
  • Taste meat and fat quality is indiscernible

Differences in the 3 Meishan Pig bloodlines:

These are the actual differences in the bloodlines we have noted to date

  • Structure:

Illinois bloodline Meishan Pigs tend to be the tallest and longest in the loin,  USDA bloodline Meishan Pigs are the blockiest in the shoulder and hams and add fat the fastest . Size wise Illinois are the largest and fastest growing.,USDA next fastest and Iowa bloodline Meishan Pigs tends to be the narrowest, smallest. and slowest growing. It should be noted that the Iowa line benefits greatly from being crossed with either USDA or Illinois.

  • Prolificacy:

We have bred Pure USDA, Pure Iowa, Illinois/Iowa, and Illinois USDA litters. Based on that data these are the way litter sizes broke down from consistently largest to consistently smallest (Boar/Damn).

  1. USDA/Illinois
  2. USDA/USDA
  3. Iowa/ Illinois
  4. USDA/Iowa
  5. Iowa /UUSDA
  6. Iowa/Iowa
  • Visual

: When compared to picture of Meishan Pigs  in China the Illinois line seems to be  the most true to type. Illinois have the deepest face folds and most pendulous ears.Iowa lines seem to have the smoothest faces.Here are some pics to compare.

 

Chinese Meishan pig
Meishan Pig in China -Source UN FAO Report
Illinois Meishan pig
University of Illinois Meishan Sow here at our farm
Meishan Pigs
Our two sows from the USDA Meat Animal Research Center
Iowa State Bloodline Meishan Pig
Iowa State Bloodline Meishan Pig- Note the smoother face and smaller size

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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