Different Pig Breeds
Pig Farming in South Africa

©Elsabe Visser
The large white is a big pig with exceptional growth rate.
Since no breed is perfect and each breed has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, the selection of a breed is entirely a matter of personal choice. When making this choice, you should not only consider your own production skills, but also whether you have a sustainable market for your produce and whether you would be able to supply the kind of nutrition and comfort needed by the specific breed to thrive.

Strategic cross breeding can be used to enhance meat quality, with the offspring of these crosses being sold to the market.

The Large White

This English breed was introduced into South Africa around the 1890s. As the name suggests, it is a large breed with white skin that produces large healthy litters with exceptional growth rates and feed efficiencies. They make good protective mothers and the boars are good workers, although some strains mature late, after seven to eight months of age.
Large White pigs are considered the ultimate dual purpose breed and when crossed with any other pure breed, will produce offspring (progeny) of excellent bacon type. They produce female stock with excellent reproduction qualities, when crossed with the Landrace.

The Landrace

©Glenneis Kriel
Landrace pigs have excellent growth rates.
The Landrace is a Danish breed with white skin that developed out of crossings of Large Whites with native Danish Pigs. They were first imported from Holland into South Africa in 1952. The breed is associated with excellent growth rates and feed efficiency, while the improved breed is recognised for its great mothering traits; producing large litters with regularity over long periods.
The South African pig progeny testing scheme, started towards the end of the 1950s, resulted in such remarkable progress, that the breed became known as the South African Landrace. According to David Visser’s book, Modern Pig Production, the South African strain is associated with durability problems due to its extreme lightness of bone, while some of the excessively muscled overseas strains are highly susceptible to stress, exacerbated by hot climatic conditions and long distances to the market.

The Chester White

©Liezel Grobler
This breed originated in the United States from a crossing between Yorkshire and Lincolnshire animals. The first Chester Whites were imported from the United States into South Africa in 1983. The breed, which has white skin, is medium sized, has good bones and makes good working boars. They thrive under extensive and semi-intensive conditions and are primarily used as a mothering breed crossed with Large Whites or Landraces. There are not many breeders of Chester Whites in South Africa.

The Duroc

©Elsabe Visser
Duroc boars are primarily used in crosses with white breeds.
This rusty red coloured breed originated in the United States from four strains of red pigs. It was first imported into South Africa from Canada in 1980, to make available a third breed, primarily for crossbreeding purposes.
The boars have good libido and are primarily used in crosses with traditional white breeds, producing offspring with excellent growth rates, feed efficiency and meat quality. Modern Pig Production, advises the marketing of all offspring, because they inherit half of the Duroc genes responsible for the reddish brown colour of the breed which creates problems at the abattoir. The Duroc breed, nevertheless, produces well marbled meat that is significantly better than that of most other breeds.
The sows produce large litters, but are regarded as poor mothers. The breed is not very susceptible to stress.

By Glenneis Kriel