by Simon Grey, General Manager Russia, CIS and Europe., Genesus
Following the crowd is easy, going against the crowd requires courage and a real belief that what you are doing is correct.
Now over 20 years ago, whilst pig breeding companies were focusing on hyper prolific sows, making pigs leaner and leaner, and on reducing FCR; Genesus went against the crowd by selecting for a prolific sow that can rear its own pigs, excellent eating quality pork and pigs with a high feed intake.
The number one reason people continue to buy a product is having a good experience. When it comes to food, a good experience is taste and texture. Why is it in most markets in the world, it is the fatter (tastier) cuts of pork that sell for more money? Producing a tasty product is core to Genesus philosophy.
Today, the remaining global breeding companies have achieved exactly what they set out to do. Genesus by going against the crowd today has a pig that is significantly different from all others.
Whilst the “sheep” have created ultra-lean, tasteless pork, Genesus pork is internationally recognised as being superior in taste and texture. Genesus growing pigs have significantly higher feed intake than the “sheep”. This means they are significantly stronger and can deal better with disease outbreaks and do not respond to challenges with environment and space by eating each other. This means Genesus pigs can produce more kg of saleable (and tasty) meat than any of the alternatives.
Genesus sows also have significantly higher lactation feed intake than the “sheep”. This means higher milk production and of course an ability to rear their own piglets and have excellent weaning weights at 21 days. This means significantly more piglets weaned per farrowing crate per year than the “sheep”….
This high lactation feed intake means Genesus sows are fit and healthy at weaning. This leads to industry-leading levels of (lower) sow mortality, often 50% less than the “sheep”. It also means significantly higher cull sow values.
The pig industry globally today is facing new crises. Getting skilled or indeed any people to work on pig farms is one. The “sheep” as a side effect of selecting for hyper prolific, ultra-lean pigs is a lack of robustness. Therefore, we are seeing such high levels of mortality/cannibalism / no value pigs at slaughter. Genesus by going against the crowd today have a pig with a significant point of difference when it comes to robustness. When there is limited skill or even limited people, we must have an easy-to-manage pig.
And for all the accountants and economists who are saying, but Genesus pigs eat more food so they must be more expensive to produce. Well yes, Genesus pigs do eat more, they have been selected to do so. This high feed intake means that Genesus finisher pigs can be fed lower-cost diets with a lower lysine to energy ratio. This on its own is becoming significant with a global shortage and increasing cost of Lysine.
If you naively manage only cost rather than profit, which many people do, then there may be little or no cost advantage with Genesus. A lot of the benefits in terms of robustness, lower mortality, cannibalism, and no value pigs have little effect on cost. They do however have a significant impact on profit as Genesus produces more kg from a farm.
Ask a sheep why it follows. It does not know, it is just a sheep and follows. There are 2 other well-known sayings when it comes to sheep. “If a sheep had 9 lives it would use them all” and the other “a sheep’s favourite dream is to wake up dead”.
This post was written by Genesus