BreedDirect is an Accurate Genetic Support Programme for Pig Herds developed by Hermitage Genetics.

BreedDirect combines a BLUP based software programme with expert genetic support which is used to predict the genetic merit of animals based on their on-farm performance for a group of traits of economic importance.

Each purebred animal is identified with a unique identification number at birth. This number is registered in the BreedDirect BLUP system. The programme then examines every record in the BreedDirect BLUP database, analysing the performance of the individual animal and all its relatives across all Hermitage herds worldwide. Economically weighted breeding values for each measured trait of economic importance are then calculated and finally a single Maternal Line Index (MLI) for the selected animal is created.

At Hermitage we have developed our BreedDirect programme to specifically meet the requirements of our customer base. BreedDirect also offers unrivalled on-farm support and back-up services ensuring that customers needs are always taken care of.

BreedDirect Purebred BLUP Programme

With this programme, the customer will maintain approximately 10% of the commercial herd as a purebred nucleus. These purebred animals will be registered with the BreedDirect Programme and all replacements for the herd (both purebred and hybrid replacements) will be produced from this herds nucleus.

BreedDirect Rotational Cross BLUP Programme

With this programme the customer will not be required to establish a purebred nucleus within the herd. All females in the breeding herd will be registered with the BreedDirect programme. This programme will continually generate a pedigree and the top 10% will be identified and used to produce the replacements for the herd.

Under both programmes, the Hermitage technical team will setup and run the BreedDirect BLUP Programme for the herd generating a Breeding Value (BV) list which ranks the sows in the herd according to their Maternal Line Index (MLI) thus ensuring that the best sows in the herd are selected. A mating matrix is produced which identifies the best AI boar to cross with each ‘GGP/GP’ sow in the herd to maximise the rate of genetic progress per generation and to eliminate any inbreeding.


BreedDirect Provides:

On Farm Technical support

  • Established breeding targets for customer herds.
  • Breeding Programme Guidelines.
  • Breeding Programme support to all BreedDirect customers.
  • Calculation of Breeding Values for all registered herds – updated weekly.
  • Provision of Check Files for all registered herds – updated monthly.
  • Maintenance of the Pedigree Records for all registered herds.
  • Technical on-farm SUPPORT for all Hermitage BreedDirect Programmes.
  • Online 24hr access to the latest updated Breeding Values and Check List files.


BreedDirect offers two Maternal Line Index (MLI) choices to meet your farm requirements:


MLI selection is focused on increasing numbers born alive.

MLI Fig 1 News pie chart








MLI selection is focused on litter weight at weaning as a means of selecting for high milk yield (a heritable trait) and subsequent growth rate.
MLI Fig 2 News Pie







ADVANTAGES:BD Year on Year progress chart flyer 2015

  • Greater accuracy of selection.
  • True genetically superior pigs are selected for each generation.
  • The overall herd prolificacy and maternal performance is optimized.
  • Optimum health status and bio-security is maintained.
  • Eliminates confounding environmental effects.
  • Physical performance of the unit is maximised producing uniform replacements.
  • Economic returns from the unit are maximised.




To make BreedDirect more user friendly and accessible to clients, Hermitage have invested in the development of an automated online programme. Each Hermitage customer will be provided with their own unique log-in and password details to access their individual herd’s Breeding Value (BV) lists and Check Files. These reports will be available online 7 days a week from anywhere in the world via a link from the Hermitage website. Strict confidentiality and security of the system is a priority so that customers can only view their own Breeding Value lists.



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To view our explanation video on BreedDirect click here: Video