Pigs can fly – as top class genetic exports

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A YORKSHIRE pig-breeding company is continuing its recent run of exports to the Far East by announcing that it has flown some 900 animals to China.

The high genetic merit breeding pigs were flown to the Far East in a 747 specially chartered by Driffield-based JSR Genetics.

The animals were on route to Hubei Jinxu JSR Breeding Limited, the joint venture between JSR and Chinese pig producers Hubei COFCo, to create a brand new nucleus herd in the country, which is enjoying an unprecedented increase in demand for pork due to its burgeoning middle-class.

The animals are being exported to be used as breeding stock which will then in turn be used to supply farmers around the province.

Dr Grant Walling, managing director, told the Yorkshire Post the whole process was laborious but interesting.

“It is a massive logistical operation. When you are moving 885 animals and have to be in a position where you are selecting them eight or nine weeks before shipping giving accurate measurements is not easy. When you are dealing with animals who can easily grow by a kilo a day you can be talking about an extra tonne being put out on the plane.

“The health tests too were a huge logistical problem.”

Demand for British pig meat itself has rocketed in the past 12 months, with the trade in livestock products now said to be worth £2.33bn.

Last year saw a massive growth for meat exports, an increase of 22 per cent from the previous figures in 2010, with a variety of measures – including tightening supply of meat worldwide coupled with a drive by England’s meat industry to improve its standing – attributed for the rise.

“We are delighted be establishing a nucleus herd here in the Hubei Province,” says Paul Anderson, JSR’s international sales director.

“A strong presence here is very important to us. China is home to half the world’s pigs and pork consumption is still growing. JSR is certainly is targeting China as a major growth area in the coming years. The Hubei Province is centrally located with an excellent distribution network, so success here is crucial.”

The animals are the latest major consignment of JSR pigs sent to China and follow a delivery in March 2011 of over 800 JSR Genepacker GGP gilts and JSR Geneconverter GGP boars to stock a new breeding nucleus farm.

The pigs were accompanied at every stage of their 12 hour journey by Darren Farnsworth, JSR’s export co-ordinator. “We were able to quickly load and unload 28 double-decker pallets that we could then despatch onto lorries straight to the new nucleus farm.

“Once there, the pigs all quickly settled into their 45 day quarantine period.

“A lot of work, a lot of detail, goes into an international delivery like this – from export licences and health checks to flights and quarantines – but the end result is well worth it,” he added.

“The whole operation went very smoothly. ”