UK pig stud secures biggest ever export order to China

The UK has received its largest ever export order from China for frozen boar semen, in a deal which also involves training Chinese staff in artificial insemination (AI) and semen handling. Deerpark Pedigree Pigs in Northern Ireland has secured the order which will ship in January and be followed by further consignments over the months and years ahead.
calendar icon 3 January 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

The order has come off the back of extensive work on the part of brothers, Nigel and Robert Overend, who own the Deerpark Stud, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT) and UK Tag, the export arm of the British Pig Association (BPA).

Over the years, the Overend family has perfected the process of freezing pig semen, a product with which their top-performing customers are now achieving conception rates as high as 100 per cent. The Overend family was early to adopt the process and has spent decades fine-tuning best-practice techniques for freezing, thawing and inseminating the semen.

Although their freezing process remains a closely-guarded secret within their Londonderry-based company, the brothers are now in keen demand around the world to provide tuition in handling and insemination.

The most recent Chinese order for 2,000 straws will follow smaller shipments, in a sequence of events which is typical for the company when new customers come on board. Nigel Overend explained:

This customer started with a small order of 100 straws in order to test the water. When they were confident they would achieve high conception rates, they moved on to much larger orders.

Semen from these shipments will be largely destined for Chinese multiplication units which produce high genetic merit breeding stock for commercial herds.

Further interest in Deerpark comes from the rare and minority breeds which are banked at the stud alongside the commercially important Large White and British Landrace.

The British Pig Association and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) have designated the Deerpark Stud as the centre for their breed conservation programmes. This means orders can also be fulfilled for breeds such as the Large Black, Berkshire, Gloucestershire Old Spots, British Lop, Middle White and Oxford Sandy & Black.

In total, the company has seen a 300 per cent increase in its frozen semen sales over the past two years. A large proportion of this growth is attributed to export orders, a demand which has developed following the company’s ongoing presence at international trade events.

Events the brothers have attended include Viv Asia in Thailand, World Pork Expo in the USA and Agrilink in the Philippines. Their presence at these and other exhibitions has been supported by the BPA, the UK government’s DIT as well as embassies around the world. With the uncertainty of Brexit, Mr Overend believes the international stage will be important for the future successes of many UK businesses.

As a result of the significant increase in demand, Deerpark Pedigree Pigs is now undergoing expansion of its current stud and existing pig units.

As reported by UK Tag

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

© 2000 - 2022 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.