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Genetic Boost for Irish Pig Industry

by 5m Editor
19 November 2008, at 2:42pm

IRELAND - PIC Ireland Ltd has announced the arrival of its second consignment of genetically superior pig breeding stock directly from the PIC genetic nucleus in Canada.

PIC (the Pig Improvement Company) which was established in the UK in the early 1960's is a world leader in the specialised business of pig breeding. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of UK based Genus P.L.C., a biotechnology company creating advances to animal breeding in the bovine and porcine farming sectors.

A key strength of PIC is an ability to combine traditional quantitative genetic selection with leading edge biotechnology of Marker Assisted Selection in the continuous process of genetic improvement engineered to enhance producer's profitability.


PIC Ireland receives superior pig breeding stock from Canada.

The on going 'High Density Genotype Programme' is focused on increasing performance potential in specific beneficial traits across an ever increasing range such as growth rate, feed utilisation, lean meat content, total numbers born, piglet survival - robustness, sow longevity, leg score, etc. These improvements will ultimately be of benefit to the pig producer at commercial level. The annual R & D budget for PIC runs in excess of €16 million.

The latest consignment of 70 boars arrived in Ireland on Friday 24th October. Having started their journey in Kipling, Saskatchewan, they travelled by road to Toronto, by air to London Heathrow and finally by road and ferry to the PIC quarantine facility outside Fermoy, Co. Cork. Following a required isolation period and routine health testing the stock will be transferred to each of the two PIC Gene Transfer Centres (A.I. Centre's - totalling 200 boar places), where they will stand as stud boars.

Among the latest arrivals of Terminal Sire boars is the (new to Ireland) P327 Hampshire, this is one of the leading A.I. boars within the UK market. The decision to import this new line was based on its proven success in the UK and US where it's excellent robustness, increased growth rate, feed efficiency and superior carcase quality has made it a clear market leader.

The ever popular P337 white synthetic terminal sire boar renowned for its high appetite, excellent growth rate and high lean muscle yields, form a major part of this import due to it's already proven track record in the Irish pig industry. Demand has outstripped supply in the last twelve months.

Also included and familiar to the Irish producer is the P408, with improved specific selection index for this market, an industrial type Pietrain noted for the traits it can bestow on progeny which include robustness and hybrid vigour.

This line has excellent FCE and carcass quality traits all of which add up to increased performance in tough and challenging commercial conditions.

To keep abreast of annual progress in dam line genetic improvement, a significant part of the consignment was made up of tested large white and landrace boars.

"By importing directly from PIC's genetic nucleus in Canada, we continue to have direct access to the top of their genetic pyramid, providing Irish Pig producers with the most up to date bio- technology available in the pig world" said Gerry Douglas, PIC Ireland's general manager.

"The key drivers of pig production world wide are health, followed by achieving the lowest production costs through increased number of pigs sold per sow per year, plus improved growth rate, efficient F.C.E. and good carcass & meat quality.

The PIC focus on increased emphasis in selection for traits associated with robustness and longevity is now increasingly evident at commercial level." Mr Douglas said.

For further information contact: Gerry Douglas Tel: +353 253 3091; Mobile: +353 868 181 704; email: [email protected]