A leading swine genetics company now has a new name and a new focus, while remaining under the same independent U.S. ownership. DNA Genetics - formerly known as Danbred North America, a Danbred distributor - is committed to meeting the genetic needs of U.S. and Canadian pork producers.
"DNA Genetics will use our Danish genetics as its foundation, but we are now independent of Denmark's genetic program," says Brett Bonwell, CEO of DNA Genetics. "Operating independently of Denmark gives us the ability to focus on the traits and economic value that are most important to the profitability of our North American customers. The result will be providing customers with the best genetic value for greater gains and improved performance."
The separation from the Danish genetic system is an amicable one. "It came down to the fact that our business approach and how we deliver economic value for our customers no longer matched theirs," he states.
The company is ready to operate independently. "We have always been set up to run separately in the case of a trade barrier or disease outbreak, so while the circumstances are different, we are ready to provide a seamless transition for our customers," he says.
The biggest change? Trait selection will now be based solely on a North American economic model instead of a European model of production. The company is investing $5 million to move the current genetics to a new level for the North American market. This includes investments in database development, people, and the new, state-of-the-art InSight Performance Center. InSight, set to be fully operational by 2014, will be fully equipped to measure feed intake, with more than 2,000 boars on-test at any given time, surpassing the capability of the Danish system.
"Our customers will be working with the same people and the same pigs," Bonwell says. "Our new AccuGain Genetics Program is designed to accelerate trait availability into our customers' herds and provide advantages producers won't find elsewhere."
AccuGain is based on six principles:
- A disciplined culture of team members committed to nothing but genetic improvement and biosecurity
- A robust nucleus herd with large numbers of animals in each line
- Optimizing the movement of improved genetics into the nucleus, having the lowest generation level in the industry
- A commitment to performance testing that involves testing more animals of both sexes per line compared with other genetic companies
- An exclusive Helix genetics database that combines nucleus, customer, multiplier and genomic data to improve selection accuracy and enhance genetic progress
- Gene Transfer Centers that are company owned or managed, resulting in faster availability of the most advanced genetic potential
Selection for maternal lines will focus on productivity, feed efficiency, lean gain, structural soundness and durability. Terminal lines will focus on lean gain and feed efficiency while maintaining and improving the company's lead in producing full-value pigs.
"Our purebred DNA Genetics Line 200 Yorkshire and Line 400 Landrace grandparent animals produce our DNA Genetics Line 241 F1 females," Bonwell says. "Our F1 females have a proven ability to wean 32 or more uniform, high-quality pigs per sow per year. The foundation of our maternal selection program is Live Pigs at 5 Days™, which more accurately predicts number of pigs weaned compared to total born and simultaneously improves pig quality and livability."
The company will test for feed efficiency on more than 8,000 boars annually. "Our DNA Genetics Line 600 Duroc is a high-performing, terminal line that is designed to excel in North American production settings and produces exceptionally efficient average daily carcass gain," explains Bonwell. "This line excels in producing robust offspring, which results in more total pounds of full-value carcass per sow."
DNA Genetics is investing in people and recently added geneticist Dr. Caitlyn Abell to its team. "In addition, we will collaborate with external advisory teams to gain input and insight from some of the sharpest minds in the business. We view our customers as partners and will work to make sure they have the best genetics in the world."