Response to a selection index including environmental costs and risk preferences of producers

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Abstract

Genetic improvement of animals plays an important role in improving the economic and environmental sustainability of livestock production systems. This paper proposes a method to incorporate mitigation of environmental impacts and risk preferences of producers into a breeding objective via economic values (EVs). The paper assesses the effects of using these alternative EVs of breeding goal traits on discounted economic response to selection and on environmental impacts at commercial farm level. The application focuses on a Brazilian pig production system. Separate dam- and sire-line breeding programs that supply parents in a 3-tier production system for producing crossbreds (fattening pigs) at commercial level were assumed. Using EVs that are derived from utility functions by incorporating risk aversion increases the cumulative discounted economic response to selection in sire-line selection (6%) while reducing response in dam-line selection (12%) compared with the use of traditional EVs. The use of EVs that include environmental costs increases the cumulative discounted social response to selection in both dam-line (5%) and sire-line (10%) selections. Emission of greenhouse gases, and excretion of nitrogen and phosphorus can be reduced more with genetic improvements of production traits than reproduction traits for the typical Brazilian farrow-to-finish pig farm. Reductions in environmental impacts do not, however, depend on the use of the different EVs (i.e., with and without taking into account environmental costs and risk). Both environmental costs and risk preferences of producers need to be considered in sire-line selection, and only environmental costs in dam-line selection to improve, at the same time, the economic and environmental sustainability of the Brazilian pig production system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-171
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume97
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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