2014 GeneLink - page 11

F
or nearly half a century, the
Sha ers have carved out a liv-
ing on their family farm rais-
ing purebred swine. In 1990, Clyde Sr.
handed the reins over to his sons, Clyde
Jr. and Terry. At that time, the operation
consisted of approximately 200 sows
and 1,000 acres of crops, 300 of which
the brothers owned. In 2012, the broth-
ers split the operation down the middle
as their own sons and daughters joined
the family business. Terry took the
“showpig” side of the purebred opera-
tion and Sha er’s Goldrush boar stud.
Clyde Jr. kept the commercial genetics,
which consists of 1,000 sows, a 210-
head boar stud and 1,500 tillable acres.
Keeping Sha er Genetics running is
a family e ort. Clyde Jr. and his high
school sweetheart and present day o ce
manager, Sandy, have four children,
all of which have returned to the farm.
Each has their own role in the success
of the operation. Clyde III manages the
nishers, the grain farming operation
and often helps with deliveries. Josh is
in charge of their boar stud and man-
ages the operation’s nances and books.
Cassandra works in the o ce, while
she nishes college, and Jordan oversees
the production of the main farm sow
unit. Of course, Clyde Sr., although
retired, still serves as a consultant to the
family with his years of experience.
As the structure of the swine in-
dustry has changed from small fam-
ily farms to larger farms with a more
corporate structure, Clyde Jr. has
noticed a shift in customers’ priorities.
“ ey are no longer emotion driven;
they’re fact driven,” he says. “Inde-
pendent producers want to work with
genetic companies that have produc-
tion traits based upon pro tability.
We no longer sell pigs by telling folks
we have good pigs, but through data,
production records and examples of
our genetics’ success. At Sha ers, we
know we have genetics as good as
any corporate genetic company.”
ey know because they have
proof. It’s in the numbers of their
purebred, pedigreed hogs’ performance
records, which are calculated using
the Swine Testing and Genetic Evalu-
ation System (STAGES™) program.
STAGES™ was developed by the Na-
tional Swine Registry (NSR) and lead-
ing swine geneticists from land-grant
universities throughout the U.S. to
facilitate genetic improvement by calcu-
lating and predicting the value of each
individual pig based upon economi-
cally-signi cant traits. e program
contains more than 2 million perfor-
mance records that compile numerous
economically-relevant traits from herds
throughout the country and purebred
partners abroad. is allows producers
to not only compare the performance
and potential for genetic improvement
within their own herd, but also to com-
pare their genetics against every other
purebred, pedigreed Duroc, Hampshire,
Landrace and Yorkshire in the nation.
“Our program is based o of
STAGES™ and purebred genetics serve
as the backbone of our genetic prog-
ress,” Clyde Jr. says. “By having so
many generations’ genetic performance
documented, we can make genetic prog-
ress much more easily and accurately.”
e Sha er Genetics model uses Du-
roc genetics as the terminal line. eir
red hogs excel in meat quality, e ciency
and growth. For maternal traits, Sha ers
turn to Yorkshire and Landrace genetics
to create F1 females backed by the pow-
er of a purebred, performance pedigree.
“With this changing industry, it
is critical to measure genetic progress
from birth to market,” Clyde Jr. says.
“We weigh each individual pig at birth,
weaning and 56 days, and scan them at
market weight. is helps us to identify
which lines will have the larger, more
viable pigs at birth that will provide
us with more growth and e ciency.”
In 2010, Sha ers joined a group
of purebred, pedigreed swine breed-
ers focused on the commercial side
of the industry to form a domestic
“By having so many generations’
genetic performance documented, we
can make genetic progress much more
easily and accurately.”
– Clyde Shaffer Jr.
2014 GENELINK • 11
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