Greek Pig Producers Benefit from AI

GREECE - Pig farmers in Greece have been offered advice on how to improve productivity from UK pig genetics company, JSR Genetics Ltd.
calendar icon 10 November 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

A technical event, specifically for Greek pig producers, was held in the City of Thessalonki in September 2008. The event was organised and hosted by JSR's Greek pig genetics franchise F-One Hellas.

Dr Grant Walling, Director of Research and Genetics at JSR Genetics Ltd, speaking during the conference

The Greek pig market, like many across Europe, has faced economic challenges over the last 12 months, mainly due to increases in the price for feed resulting in higher production costs that have not been met by the price of pork at the abattoir.

Low growth rates, lower sow productivity and low pork consumption (the Greek diet is traditionally based around lamb) have also made the Greek pig market particularly difficult. To help the farmer, the Greek government set up a system of interest free loans for pig producers - however this period is coming to an end and with banks facing their own market pressures these subsidies could soon end.

Dr Grant Walling, Director of Research and Genetics at JSR Genetics Limited, was a guest speaker at the event: "I covered the benefits of switching to using Artificial Insemination rather than natural service from boars.

"AI is not widely used in Greece but due to the fact that Greek pig producers have small herds of 300 or less sows it makes sense to have a pool of elite boar semen that is shared across several farms rather than every farm housing a population of male animals.

"Farmers in hot climates also have to tackle the problem of decreased boar fertility - keeping a number of boars in air conditioned stud units will help to produce better production figures.

"I was also keen to stress the importance of using different lines of boars, for example, the Duroc boar is used for enhanced meat quality or using the Titan Sire line for enhanced carcase yields.

"The Greek pig producers seemed very interested in what they heard and JSR continues to work with farmers globally, to ensure that pork production is a constructive and cost effective process."

The Greek technical conference also covered gilt and sow management and gave Greek farmers tips on maximising productivity by highlighting the importance of age at first service, managing the animal based on condition score and farrowing house feeding in warmer climates.

Following the technical conference, a JSR Technical Production Specialist will visit Greece to help farmers with specific issues that were identified during the conference.

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