China pig breeders go high-tech in self-sufficiency push

  • World’s prime pork producer relies on international breeds
  • Some firms currently improving upon pig efficiency independently
  • Large cost, deficiency of practical experience make enhancements difficult

CHIFENG, China, May well 27 (Reuters) – Very small slivers of ear tissue snipped from several hours-aged piglets supply precious clues for the group at Finest Genetics Team (BGG) as it strives to strengthen the genetics of China’s hog herd to develop more cost-effective meat for the world’s major pork consumer.

Breeding pigs that have greater litters, attain slaughter body weight faster and involve much less feed can make a significant change in a current market manufacturing just about 700 million hogs a year.

BGG is between about 100 farms enrolled in just these a point out-led endeavour to wean China off imported inventory and breed a self-sustaining herd to feed its 1.4 billion people.

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China has the world’s largest hog herd, but relies greatly on imports for breeding product, extra so immediately after the African swine fever virus in 2018-19 decimated its pig populace and wiped out substantially of its breeding pool.

“We have to insist on our very own independent breeding,” Hao Wenjie, BGG’s head breeder, told Reuters at one of its farms that lies about 30 km (18.64 miles) outside the house the small town of Chifeng in northern China’s remote Internal Mongolia region.

“Only then can we provide large-quality seeds, or breeding stock, for our market and crack this have to have for every person to go to international varieties,” she added.

Breeders are wanting to improve the genetics of overseas and nearby pigs, but lack of knowledge in accumulating data, large fees, competitors and sector volatility pose big problems.

These endeavours come amid President Xi Jinping’s calls for self-sufficiency in meals, with the target recently turning to the genetics or the “chips” of agriculture, witnessed as a weak link in China’s foods stability.

China demands its possess seeds to guarantee its “meals bowl”, Xi explained very last month.

Increasing A PIG

Boosting a pig in China expenditures about two-and-a-half instances far more than in the United States thanks to expensive imported feed and high levels of disease.

Genetic improvements for more cost-effective meat are therefore in high desire. But so considerably global companies have been greater at this.

Immediate genetic development requires demanding facts collection and investigation and not numerous professionals in China have the experience to style and design and apply these kinds of selection.

Netherlands-based genetics guide Jan Merks on a take a look at to BGG’s farm admonished personnel for mixing some batches.

“In a industrial farm, it will not matter if you use two different boars in the course of a sow’s warmth. Below, it has to be similar.”

Regardless of these kinds of hurdles, privately owned BGG, started 10 a long time ago, is among the individuals producing development.

Just after getting 1,200 purebred sows from Canada-based mostly Genesus in 2012, it has expanded the herd to 6,000 and typical quantity of piglets born for every litter to 15, just one additional than when it commenced.

Now BGG aims to enhance the litter dimension by a different 1.35 in five a long time and cut down the backfat on its boars.

BGG collects hundreds of hundreds of information every year on attributes such as litter dimension, loin depth, and each day pounds attain. It selects the pigs with the optimum values across these characteristics for breeding, increasing efficiency with each technology.

Genomic collection is serving to pace up the method.

For instance, based on the DNA from the tissue of a piglet’s ear, BGG predicts how perfectly a pig will carry out, boosting the possibilities of choosing the best breeders.

“We have a aim of 3-5 many years for improvement of just about every trait,” Hao explained at the farm, exactly where pink-roofed buildings are perched on a hill, surrounded by scrubland and mountains.

Close to 65 team live there for months at a time, carrying out artificial insemination, gathering information on newborns and ensuring the herd is healthy.

BGG sells the offspring of its breeders to leading hog producers which includes Wens Foodstuff Team (300498.SZ), Jiangxi Zhengbang Technological know-how Co (002157.SZ) and Beijing Dabeinong Technologies Team (002385.SZ).


Nonetheless, business has endured amid recent substantial losses at pig producers, BGG founder Monita Mo stated.

China’s hog producers have endured report losses because of to surging feed fees and weak need amid COVID.

A further firm’s breeding farm has been requested by its management to slash again on genomic range to reduced prices, its head breeder reported on issue of anonymity.

China has too numerous compact breeding farms, said Fu Yan, professor of genetics at Zhejiang College. Significant, listed hog producers who began breeding programmes in latest decades could be greatest put to devote the huge sums desired to compete with global firms, he extra.

On China’s push to improve the genetics of native pigs, some authorities alert they are by now so considerably behind that it detracts from efforts underway on imported breeds.

China’s Meishan pig is renowned for its massive litters, but it and dozens others expand little by little and are also fatty.

“It will take about one year for the animal to mature to 100kg. We attempted to make a neighborhood breed that can expand in 8-9 months but it truly is not that reliable nevertheless,” Mo explained.

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Reporting by Dominique Patton Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Expectations: The Thomson Reuters Trust Concepts.

Stacee R. Grigg

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