PIC, ABS and Promar International host Tesco at the Ruthin bull stud and freezing unit


On August 16, representatives from each part of the Genus group hosted the Tesco Agriculture team at Ruthin, North Wales.  Tesco is the UK’s largest retailer with a 28% share of the grocery retail market, and a major client for Promar. 

We provide a range of services to Tesco in relation to the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group – Tesco’s aligned group of dairy farmers, who supply all of their own-label milk and cream.  This includes collection of data to calculate the cost of milk production, which in turn underpins the milk price which the farmers receive.  This contract has recently been renewed and expanded.  We also support Tesco with the delivery of their Future Farmer Foundation – a programme of training and experience for young farmers from all farming sectors (see www.tescofuturefarmerfoundation.com for more details).

We invited Tesco’s Agriculture team, which includes Agriculture Managers representing the dairy, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, produce and aquaculture sectors, to the bull stud at Ruthin, in order to showcase the pioneering work carried out by Genus ABS and PIC.  The day was themed around the role of genetics in addressing key challenges for sustainable livestock production.  The Genus team were:

  • Matt Sheehan and Rebecca Lewis – Principal Consultants, Promar International
  • Andrew Rutter – Genus ABS Breeding Programme Manager
  • James Hudson – Genus ABS UK Production Manager
  • Juan Manuel Herrero – PIC Genetic Services Geneticist
  • Jon Kenny – PIC Key Account Manager

It was fantastic to have PIC, ABS and Promar all represented, and really demonstrated the strength of the Genus group. 

Andrew presented Genus genetic progress in dairy and emphasised Genus’ focus on health and welfare traits, and producing cows which are profitable on farm, as well the exciting developments around genomics and Real World Data. 

Juan’s presentation showed PIC’s achievements in genetic gain, the impact of genomic evaluation and PIC’s continuous validation of their genetics in customers’ herds. He also discussed PIC’s gene editing work, notably the development of PRRS resistant pigs. 

James then showcased some of the beef and dairy bulls housed at Ruthin, how they are looked after and maintained in top condition, and also explained the process of semen collection and processing.  Through the fantastic gallery facility at Ruthin, we were able to see the dairy bulls being collected, and a parade of beef bulls.  It is an amazing facility to showcase our animals to customers, without compromising biosecurity or safety protocols.

There was a great deal of discussion during the course of all the presentations.  Just some examples of topics of particular interest to Tesco included: health and welfare traits in both dairy cattle and pigs, genomics, validation, Genus’ beef offering for the dairy herd and Genus research and development.  The possibilities presented by gene editing was a hot topic – the Tesco team were impressed by the potential of the technology in particular in relation to disease resistance, yet also discussed how such technology might be perceived in the public domain. 

The day was a great success, and Tesco certainly left with a very positive view of Genus.  Barney Kay, Tesco’s Head of Agriculture, summed up with the following thanks:

“Just to say a really big thank you for everyone who made Tuesday such a stimulating, enjoyable and inspiring day!

The presentations gave us plenty of food for thought as a team.

James could you pass on our thanks to all your team? The care and professionalism of your centre was very impressive - those are some very lucky bulls.”

I would also like to thank Juan, Jon, Andrew and James for supporting us and putting on a fantastic day for Tesco.  It goes to show what can be achieved when different parts o f the Genus team come together, and I certainly hope it will be the first of many such occasions.  I look forward to continuing to work more closely with PIC, and would be keen to reciprocate should the opportunity arise.

Rebecca Lewis, Principal Consultant, Promar International


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