This past week, had the opportunity to visit with Glennmarshal Sires of Northern Ireland.

Some background on Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland pig production.

Republic of Ireland – 165,000 sows

Northern Ireland – 40,000 sows  

Irish pig population is dominated by family farms. The average farm would be about 600 sows farrow to finish. Ireland has good stockman and history of very good productivity per sow. There is significant amount of liquid feed used. The industry has had group housing for sows for over a decade. We asked if ESF (electronic sow feeding) systems are being used. One producer said they threw those out long ago. Sows now in pens of about 20 sows with troughs and small stanchions for separation. Boars are not castrated which keeps slaughter weights lower then some countries, 115-120 kg maximum (250-260 lbs). Last year Ireland had excellent profitability with producer profits reaching 50 + euros per head (61.55 US Dollar). Current prices in Ireland are about 1.38 Euros per kilogram (76c US Dollars). A significant amount of Irish pork ends up in England. As an industry, both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland producers wonder how Brexit will affect the flow of pork between Great Britain and EU countries in the future.

Glenmarshal Sires is an AI Stud owned by Trevor Shields. Currently 1000 sows farrow to finish with separate AI stud housing 250 boars in a very remote bio-secure area to the coast. Glenmarshal Sires became a Genesus Semen supply partner nearly 3 years ago. Since then, in close cooperation with Genesus International Sales Manager – Paul Anderson, business has boomed. Sales of semen have increased from 1,500 per week to over 5,000 doses per week; market share in the Irish market has grown to 25% with a big switch from Danish to Genesus Genetics.

The move from Danish to Genesus has seen pig performance exceed all expectations, the farmers praise the uniform quality of the piglets at birth, high weaning weights, fast even growth to heavy slaughter weights with very competitive grading.

22 years ago Trevor set up a producer group which has 50 members to give the members more buying power for raw materials and feeds and increased selling power through volume, the group is now supplying 5000 pigs a week (over 3,000 of the Pigs are sired by Genesus Duroc) the group are now sending the pigs to Cranswick in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, since receiving the Genesus pigs Trevor has received very positive feedback about the Carcase and meat quality.

It was a great visit with Trevor, learned much about Ireland and the swine industry there. Take home message for us that producers that work in the barn clearly see the benefits of the Genesus Purebred Duroc and maternal pigs that handle easy, grow, live and have good carcass and meat quality are appreciated by hands on stockman.

Trevor expects, Genesus share of the Irish market to grow further, and his next import will add even more Genesus Boars to his AI center.

Other Observations

US January sow slaughter was 262,700 up from 244,100 a year ago. Higher sow slaughter doesn’t translate into us thinking sow herd is expanding at a significant rate.

Last week we challenged PIC Genetic company to come out in support of the USDA’s new grading system that would identify the reddest pork and more marbling. Both traits, identified by research, to increase consume pork demand. We encourage PIC to consider making it a company policy to support the USDA proposed voluntary grades. If they can’t see fit to support the proposal maybe they should say why?!

“Good companies will meet needs, great companies will create markets” Phillip Kotter, academic.

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This post was written by Genesus