21 April 1995

No change for now after pig merger

NO immediate changes in pig trading arrangements or producer dealings are expected after the marriage of two of the UKs leading hybrid pig breeding companies.

But integration of their breeding programmes will be almost immediate.

The Yorks-based National Pig Development Company (NPD) was taken over by Dalgety-owned Pig Improvement Company (PIC) last week (Business, page 25).

PIC technical director Dr Maurice Bichard said that in particular PIC would be looking at NPDs slim-line boars which had a good reputation for improving carcass conformation. PICs own boars were not as lean as NPDs. PIC was also interested in NPDs breeding work with the Meishan pig which had improved prolificacy of the NPD sows.

"We intend to expand the combined businesses, and will probably be looking for more multipliers, in addition to those who until now have been working for NPD," said Dr Bichard.

Both the PIC and NPD flags would be flying on different stands at the Pig and Poultry Fair, Stoneleigh. But beyond that, a gradual merger of all activities controlled from PIC headquarters at Fifield Wick, Abingdon, Oxon, would take place.

NPD chairman John Curtis, who is retiring after the takeover to concentrate on other farming interests said that the merger brings together the worlds two greatest pig genetic houses.

"The two businesses fit together extremely well, complementing each others strengths, and now have the ability to combine their respective research with a single goal – to provide pig farmers with the very best of both breeding programmes," said Mr Curtis.