Pigs really do fly


At 4am on the 1st February 2016, the MD11 cargo plane carrying 25 L03 gilts from Podelzig, Germany, and 10 boars from Nahlov in the Czech Republic, landed in Lusaka, Zambia, seeing the arrival of the first new genetics into Africa for 5 years.

This shipment was 9 months in the planning. This involved meeting all the Zambian health authorities requirements, including the building of a brand new isolation quarantine near the farm that had to be double fenced and bird proofed; and satisfying the fly free transport requirements, spraying the hold once the door closed with fly spray. Trucks from both the Czech Republic and Germany had to be coordinated to arrive in Liege, Belgium on a Sunday, in a way that ensured the pigs were able to meet the strict time restrictions allowed for transport.

The pigs were destined for Wangwa farms. Run by Peter Luyt and his wife Carla, this new 500 sow multiplication unit was originally stocked a couple of years ago from South Africa. Since South Africa put a hold on live imports of animals due to health considerations, this progressive farm made the decision to ship in the best genetics they could, direct from Europe. This decision means they are now linked into the PIC genetic programme and able to utilise the advances made through genomics, the first in Africa to be able to do so.

The pig farm is integrated within the company’s agronomic business, utilising resources already farmed to produce feed and water to supply the unit. The pig farm also contributes to other enterprises. Built between the 200m long pig buildings are lagoons which are dual purposed. The wind blows across the water and acts to cool down the sheds, while water filtered from the pig slurry pits, replenish the lakes and allow fish to be farmed for human consumption.

The farm currently produces parent stock as replacement for themselves and breed extra supply other local customers using a criss cross programme between L02 and L03.

Also part of their operation is a 20 place boar stud at a site close to but separate from the main unit. They collect semen for their own production and also to supply other customers locally. The semen is put in long life diluent to allow greater distribution opportunities. Customers come to the boar stud to collect the semen themselves, timing this when they are passing on other business to make the trip economical.

Biosecurity is also taken very seriously, the main concern being that of African swine fever. The farm has shower in and shower out facilities on the main unit and also at the boar stud and isolation units. Visitors are limited near the pigs and they have even purpose built a wheel wash bay for trucks. All vehicles also pass through disinfectant pools before they get anywhere near the unit.

This small but important shipment will have wide reaching potential in the dissemination of PIC genetics within Southern Africa in what is a truly exciting venture. We wish the pigs well in their new home and success to Wangwa farms.

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