The French Landrace pig belongs to a pig or pig breed originating in the Nordic countries, mainly Denmark and Sweden, introduced in France very recently, starting in the 1930s. Since then, it has been the subject of an efficient selection process that has made it an important maternal breed in French pig farming.
It is a white pig, with a long body and floppy ears. It is endowed with good prolificacy, but also with good growth abilities. It is used mainly in crosses, especially with large white pigs. It is currently the second-largest breed in France in number.
Landrace pig origin ang history
The term “Landrace pig” refers to any group of standardized breeds of domestic pigs, and in this context, the word “Landrace” is typically capitalized. The original breed with this name was the Danish Landrace pig, from which the others were derived through development and crossing.
The name of the breed is due to the fact that the basis of the Danish Landrace breed were the specimens of the local pig breed, free-range and without pedigree, that is, the regional autochthonous breed native to Denmark. Modern breeds are not themselves local breeds, as they are formal breeds that are maintained through selective breeding rather than natural selection. The establishment and spread of the Danish race gave the word local race to the English language (it had already existed in Danish, German, Dutch, and some other Germanic languages).
Sources from the mid-20th century often specify the Danish Landrace pig in particular when referring to Landrace pigs, as most of the others have yet to be developed.
It is a large pig, recognizable by its large ears lowered forward. The body is elongated, spindle-shaped, and the coat is uniformly white, with little hair. Sows of this class measure 90 centimeters at the withers for a weight of 300 kilograms, while boars measure 95 centimeters and weigh about 350 kilograms.
These pigs breed quite well and provide a medium-quality carcass. This is quite in accordance with the standards sought in industrial production because it is not very rich in fat, the thickness of the back fat is 11.3 millimeters.
The autochthonous breed is particularly well anchored in the crossbreeding pattern that is practiced in factory farming. Indeed, it’s crossing with the great white breed allows to obtain hybrid sows with a record numerical productivity and that constitute the most widespread genetic type in France.
These pigs are a prolific breed with an average of 13.7 piglets per litter and 24 piglets per year. These benefits are close to those of the great white race, the benchmark breed in this field. The French autochthonous breed is also characterized by its sexual precocity (it can reproduce from 8 to 9 months) and by its excellent maternal behavior.
The management of the breed is ensured by the collective books of the pig herd. In 2005, 4,800 sows were entered in the herd book, of which approximately 3,200 participate in the purebred selection program on 29 herds and 1,100 are used for breeding.
The selection objectives are essentially maternal qualities, in order to consolidate the position of the race as a female line. In addition, the local breed is selected for its robustness, the strength of its skeleton, and the thickness of its cord. Since 1989, it has also been the subject of a program aimed at obtaining a hyper prolific lineage, which has allowed a great advance in its prolificacy, of the order of 0.2 more piglets per litter per year. Finally, after drastic selection, the gene for halothane sensitivity has completely disappeared from the breed since 1990.
The Landrace breed of pigs ranks second in French pig farming. It represents 30% of the pig house in France. It is used mainly as a female line, and in the cross, with the great white race for the production of breeding sows. In 2005, the number of sows was estimated at 37,000.
There are variants of this breed throughout the world, which have evolved differently depending on the selection practices of each country. It should be noted that the British, Danish, and Dutch breeds are quite similar to their French counterparts. In addition, France exports the native French varieties to China and Africa.
Landrace is also one of the 3 most popular pig breeds in the Philippines The other two are Large White and Duroc. Landrace can be crossed to any of the other two to produce stronger F1.
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