If you’re raising showpigs, the foundation for success begins and ends with the females you have in your herd. Regardless of the size of your operation, the emphasis placed on the female side will always dictate your direction. For the past seven days we’ve shared our thoughts and opinions of what we consider when selecting females. This isn’t the gospel and certainly isn’t one size fits all, however, consideration of any or all of these tips should at the very least give you plenty to think about.
1 – Does she have a story to market?
2 – Will she make your program more relevant?
3 – Will she increase the value of your herd?
4 – Will she generate predictability?
5 – Is she a show gilt AND a sow?
6 – Will she diversify my genetic base?
7 – Can she make a boar?
All of these questions may not apply to every situation, however, we think they are a means for evaluating female purchases – big or small.
If 7 questions weren’t enough, here are few more thoughts to keep in mind.
* A sow usually doesn’t prove her worth until her 2nd or 3rd litter. If you were truly convinced she could be the one, give her another chance – even if she disappointed you the first time.
* You won’t know which littermate is ‘the one’ until you breed them all, farrow them, and evaluate their progeny. You don’t have to have the best looking one TODAY to have the best generating sow tomorrow.
* Purchase price never guarantees success. For every high dollar purchase I’ve made that produced, there are 2-3 cheap ones that are generating just as well. True foundation females come in all shapes and sizes – price included.
* If you buy ‘the one’ and you’re convinced she can be your foundation, the best method to making her famous ‘in this breeder’s opinion’ is keeping her daughters and letting them help the debate. Offspring build the basis for credibility and there is no greater path to establishing credibility for a sow than putting her daughters to work.
If you can’t tell, this is a topic that we enjoy discussing and frankly could go on and on until this screen goes black. Bottom line, sows are important in this business. Our sowherd will always be the focal point of our operation and it is our hope that we can sell females that will be the foundation for your success as well.