Review: divergent selection for residual feed intake in the growing pig
The aim of the study was to evaluate the consequences of a divergent selection for residual feed intake (RFI) during growth in a temperate environment (TEMP) on sow performance in a tropical environment (TROP). Sows came from a selection experiment conducted at INRA in which 2 lines were selected for larger (RFI(+)) or smaller (RFI(─)) feed intake than predicted from performance. In the first analysis, a subsample of data obtained in TROP conditions (49 lactations) was compared to those obtained in TEMP on their sibs mated with the same boars (54 lactations). In the second analysis, data obtained in the TROP environment (82 lactations) were analyzed for testing the effect of season (warm vs. hot) and line on sow performance. Except for the lactation length, the interaction between line and climatic environment was not significant for the others traits (P > 0.05). The ADFI expressed per kilogram of litter BW gain tended to be higher in the RFI(+) line bred in the TROP environment (P = 0.080), together with piglet BW at weaning, which tended to be lower (P = 0.080). The ADFI was lower in TROP than in TEMP (4.56 vs. 5.86 kg/d; P = 0.003), with negative consequence on litter BW gain and maternal BW loss. The RFI(-) sows tended to eat less feed than RFI(+) sows during lactation (4.55 vs. 5.86 kg/d; P = 0.099). Litter BW at weaning was higher in the RFI(─) line. The RFI(─) sows ate significantly less feed to produce 1 kg of litter than the RFI(+) sows and tended to lose a larger amount of BW during lactation than the RFI(+) sows (2.40 vs. 3.02 kg/kg and -0.66 vs. -0.39 kg/d, respectively, P < 0.10). Whatever the line, ADFI was reduced by about 21% in the hot season (P < 0.05). Litter BW gain was depressed (P < 0.05) in the hot season (1.72 vs. 2.08 kg/d in the warm season; P = 0.023). Lactation maternal BW loss tended to increase in the hot season (1.10 vs. 0.71 kg/d in the warm season; P = 0.016), but back fat loss remained constant (P = 0.295). In the TROP environment, the amount of feed required to produce 1 kg of litter was not influenced by the line in the warm season (2.53 kg/kg on average; P = 0.99), but it tended to be lower in the RFI(─) line when compared to the RFI(+) line in the hot season (2.06 vs. 3.45 kg/kg; P = 0.050). This higher apparent efficiency in RFI(─) sows was mainly related to greater maternal body reserve mobilization (i.e., BW and back fat losses). In conclusion, selection for low RFI during growth in a TEMP environment did not impair sow and litter performance in tropical conditions.