Pig International - March 2012 - 22

| 21
Artificial insemination
lab to help UK pig farmers
improve conception rates

PIC's famous Camborough sow, which
was first delivered in 1964.
Bill
Christianson,
director
of Genus
America and
head of PIC.
"Our accuracy
of selection
and the use of
genomics can
really make a
difference in
providing pigs
with the traits farmers need to suit
different environmental conditions
and challenges around the world."

Pig genetics advancements
In an exclusive interview with Pig
International, Christianson said,
"PIC will continue to select for the
pig traits and characteristics that
our customers value in a scientific
way and with integrity. We still
have many people around the world
working for PIC, who I believe have
the same spirit of the company's
founders and they will lead the way
forward as we continue to invest in
R&D. We also have a phenomenal
database of knowledge, built up by
our researchers and commercial pig
producers around the world, and
we will continue to build on this and
use it to improve the robustness
and performance of our pigs.
"Using all the tools we now have

March/April 2012 | www.WATTAgNet.com

available, as well as our massive
database, we are always looking
at the total economy to ensure we
provide products that suit realworld conditions and will work at
the commercial level," he said.
Asked what the company's
"wow factor" is after five decades,
Christianson said, "I think it is
our accuracy of selection and the
use of genomics, which can really
make a difference in providing pigs
with the traits farmers need to suit
different environmental conditions
and challenges around the world.
Our continued focus on high health,
where we have often led the way,
also is highly valued by the pig
industry and our customers.
"We are now more able to get at
things that were difficult to select for,
such as robustness, litter size, meat
quality and plain livability. And, we do
this in an open, transparent way with
integrity, recognizing that the needs
of the pig have to play a major role."

Pig industry maturing
Christianson's views are supported
by PIC UK general manager Sue
Corning, who joined the technical
sales department 15 years ago. She
says she is still a "techie" at heart
and believes the company's focus
on accuracy of selection and use of
genomics to obtain full genetic potential
from the pigs is very important.
"Here in the UK, many pigs are
kept indoors and outdoors," says

International pig breeding company
PIC has invested £150,000 in a new
gene transfer center that aims to
improve research and development
into pig semen quality and artificial
insemination, and to boost production.
The new facility at Colworth Science
Park, Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, which
opened in January 2012, provides a
direct link between the company's
isolated semen production units
and UK pig producers, which helps
improve on-farm performance via gene
transfer (artificial insemination).
The laboratory is equipped with
state-of-the-art scientific instruments,
including one of the few flow-cytometers
and fluorescent microscopes available
in British semen-testing laboratories.
"Pig production today faces
many challenges and opportunities,"
said Andrew Saunders, agriculture
director for Tulip Ltd. "This will
help pig producers to exploit new
technology quickly and efficiently."
Sue Corning, general manager
for PIC UK, pointed out that while
artificial insemination is used by
75 percent and 80 percent of UK pig
producers, it is becoming common
around the world (97 percent in
Denmark, 90 percent in Belgium and
more than 80 percent in Germany).
Work at the laboratory will focus on
projects that are directly linked to the
UK pig industry, including serving sows
outdoors under a range of environmental
conditions, dealing with semen at low
temperatures and increased traveling
times for semen transport, which are
all peculiar to the UK pig sector.

Corning. "We are also looking closely
at the impact they may have on the
environment, especially regarding the
future nitrogen/carbon balance."
She pointed out that the past
50 years have seen enormous
changes in what pig farmers want
from pig breeding companies.

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

Contents
Pig International - March 2012 - Cover1
Pig International - March 2012 - Cover2
Pig International - March 2012 - Contents
Pig International - March 2012 - 2
Pig International - March 2012 - 3
Pig International - March 2012 - 5
Pig International - March 2012 - 6
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