Pig International - March 2012 - 21

20 Production

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Pioneering spirit still driving
PIC after 50 years

International pig breeding company
celebrates golden anniversary and
promises further swine genetics advances.
By Roger Abbott
The pioneering spirit that inspired a
small bunch of like-minded British
pig producers to launch the Pig
Improvement Company, PIC, in 1962
is alive and well and driving one of the
biggest global pig genetics companies
forward into its next 50 years.
Now owned by biotechnology giant
Genus plc, which acquired PIC when it
bought Sygen in 2005, the company has
an annual revenue of £150 million and
operates in more than 30 countries on six
continents, producing an estimated 100
million market pig equivalents a year.

Taking pig breeding
to the next level
Established by a group of pig
producers led by Ken Woolley in
Oxfordshire, UK in 1962, PIC can
list a record of achievements over
the half century, starting with its
first Camborough gilts, which were
delivered in 1964 when the "minimal

disease concept" was established.
"It's amazing what a difference a
few like-minded individuals can make
on an industry," says Bill Christianson,
Genus America director, who is
responsible for PIC (and also celebrates
his 50th birthday this year). "I believe
that pioneering spirit has driven PIC
forward for the past 50 years and it
is still the moving force behind this
business, which I am confident will
continue to remain at the forefront of
the pig industry for the next 50 years."
PIC first ventured out of the UK in
1968, when it established a base in
France. Emboldened by its success
in Europe, the pig breeding company
set up businesses in Canada in 1970,
Australia, the U.S. and Germany in
1973 and then Brazil in 1977, and
the rest, as they say, is history.
The company introduced its
own PIC pig health scheme in
1969. Medicated early weaning and
isolated early weaning followed in
1977 and the Camborough 15 was

PIC's new genetic pig nucleus
complexes in South Dakota, USA.

Where it all began.
introduced to the world in 1983.
PIC added a recording and analysis
system in 1986 and four years
later, it was the first pig breeding
company to use a DNA probe to
test for the halothane gene.
This was followed by the
development of three new pig genetic
markers for litter size, disease
resistance and meat quality in 1998.
The turn of the century has seen even
further advances on the pig genetic
front, with the new Sireline GNXbred
(2003), the purchase of Cotswold
Swine Genetics in the U.S. (2004) and
the new Damline GNXbred (2006).
PIC has pioneered singlestep genetic evaluations, which
suggests that this company has
no intention of standing still.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pig International - March 2012

Contents
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Pig International - March 2012 - Contents
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