Northern Ireland
Livestock, Breeding stock and genetics
UK Technology for Agriculture and Genetics

Deerpark Pedigree Pigs

Family-run business, Deerpark Pedigree Pigs, is taking a growing proportion of the world’s export markets which increasingly appreciate the quality of UK genetics.

Countries as diverse as China, India, the USA, Canada, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Barbados, Ukraine, Nepal and St Helena all count themselves amongst Deerpark’s customers.

Orders from some of these countries are growing so rapidly that exports from this Northern Irish company have increased from five per cent of its sales five years ago to around 40% today.

Brothers, Robert and Nigel Overend, who run the business, believe there is a range of reasons for the rapid growth which has developed after years spent forging personal relationships around the world.

“Our customers have seen that we are an established, family business and that we are in this for the long term,” says Nigel (pictured right). “They like the personal touch and they also like the fact that we give training and support on site which helps them get the best results and performance from our genetics.”

Technical success

The company’s technical success with frozen semen has also been a big draw.

“It’s particularly gratifying when we see technicians we have trained achieving conception rates which are far beyond anything they have had from any other country before,” says Robert (pictured above with Nigel and his son, Joshua).

In fact, the stud at Deerpark has been perfecting the process of freezing boar semen over two generations of
the Overend family and today, some of the top-performing herds supplied by the company achieve conception rates of 100 per cent with Deerpark boars.

Such has been the success of the Overends’ business that both the British Pig Association and Rare Breeds Survival

Trust have designated the stud as the centre for their pig conservation programmes. Today, Deerpark is the semen storage facility for rare and minority UK native breeds such as the British Lop, Gloucestershire Old Spot, Middle White and Oxford Sandy and Black alongside the commercially important Large White and British Landrace.

Commenting on orders to China, Nigel, who regularly returns to the country with follow-up support, says: “Orders from China started in a small way so the customer could test the water. When they were confident in the performance, they moved on to larger, more regular orders.

“It is gratifying to see that these and other customers are keen to follow technical advice and adhere to breeding programmes to improve their own genetics.

“It is still the case that the UK is regarded as a leader in genetic improvement,” he says. “The name of UK genetics is respected wherever you go, in any livestock species.”