Genesus Global Market Report Russia – August 2019

Simon Grey – General Manager Russia, CIS and Europe.


Pig price in Russia is 113.50 Roubles per live kg (US$1.77). With cost of production at about 65 Roubles ($1.03) for the best producers the period of high profitability for the Russian pig industry rolls on and on. Goes to show what’s possible by restricting imports!


Just as everywhere else in the world, in Russia today, most discussion is about China and what effect the dramatic loss of pig production in China will have on the Russian market. Currently pigmeat can’t go from Russia to China as Russia is ASF positive as a country. Russia has not seen the recent rise in price seen in other countries that are exporting to China.


Currently the Chinese are visiting Russia. This is to see how Russia has dealt with ASF.  There is talk about China accepting imports of pig meat and even breeding pigs from Russia. For sure it will need both and in very large volume.


Russia is a very big country. As a land mass it is nearly 4 times bigger than Europe. Countries in Europe that are ASF negative can export meat to China and ones that are positive can’t. There are a lot of regions in Russia that have never had ASF and others that have not had outbreaks for several years.


In Russia ASF has been dealt with very well. Most commercial companies have looked after their own business and gone above and beyond government requirements for bio-security. ASF is actually not that contagious. The best protection is simply good bio-security and the discipline to maintain it! The structure of the industry, big fully integrated companies means there is no trade in weaned or feeder pigs. Many companies transport and kill only their own pigs. This helps keep ASF out of systems.


It seems almost impossible that the border for Russian pork from ASF free areas will be allowed into China at some point in the future. For sure this will have a positive effect on pig prices. This will not last for ever though.


One thing people always think about when there is a shortage of meat is more sows. Building sow farms is a really slow way to get production. If you start building today you will not have extra pigs for sale for at least 1.5 years and maybe 2 years. There is an obvious and much quicker way to get more pig meat. Heavier pigs!!


There are 3 ways to get heavier pigs:

1.  Faster growth rates in existing Nursery and Finisher.

Genesus is well known to have the fastest growing pig on the market.


2. Use Nursery and Finisher space efficiently.

Make sure occupancy is somewhere between 95% and 100% (using 0.3 m2 per pig in Nursery and 0.65m2 per pig in Finisher). Focusing on kg sold/m2 of Nursery and Finisher space helps with this.


Genesus is also well known for having a pig that is very calm and can be grown at very high stocking rates.

I have visited many many many farms in Russia. When I talk about maximising kg sold I am often told. We have no space! Just because there are pigs in every pen does not mean the farm is full. A pen that can hold 50 finisher pigs that has 46 pigs in it has 4 empty space’s. It is only 92% full!


Another one here is the time buildings are empty for washing and disinfection. I visit many farms where washing can take days (even up to a week). If a room takes 1 person 4 working days to wash (4 X 8 hours = 32 hours) it takes 4 people 1 day (4 X 8 = 32 hours)!! Modern disinfectants have kill times measured in minutes, not hours or days!!! Empty buildings are not growing kg of pig meat.


3. Build more finisher space, or create more space in existing Nursery and Finisher by making pens bigger.

Adding extra finisher buildings is quick (in comparison to building new sow farms, nursery and finisher). Finisher always gives the best return on investment when looking at new pig buildings.

Increasing slaughter weight from 120kg to 140kg gives you 16% more production. 


If we take official Chinese figures of a 25% reduction in sow numbers this is somewhere 10 to 12 million sow’s. In terms of global pig production this is somewhere in the region of 15% to 20%. If the rest of the world’s producers simply increased slaughter weights by 20kg a good proportion of this loss is filled.


One thing I do see in Russia is in general growth rates are lower than we see with the same pigs and health status as we see in North America. In Canada we regularly see pigs at 135kg at 165 to 170 days. On many Russian farm’s pigs will be 10kg to 20kg lighter in the same time. There are several reasons for this!

The loss of profit from lower growth rate is very significant! It is very simple math to calculate this loss!

A. Nutrition.

There is a lot of European and traditional Russian influence with nutrition. Because of the market in Europe (lean pigs and relatively expensive feed) pigs have been selected for low FCR and to be very lean. This reduces considerably feed intake. To compensate for this and to get pigs to grow, feed has to be higher density and with high levels of SID Lysine.


Russian farm historically also feed only 5 diets from weaning to finish (some only 4). This is not only expensive it also can restrict growth rate. This is simply a management issue!


Genesus fast growth comes from a high voluntary feed intake. Using European type, high lysine diets for high feed intake pigs actually reduces growth rate. Excess Lysine (protein) needs to be de-aminated. A by-product of deamination is glucose. This increases FCR and makes pigs fatter!


B. Feeder design

Again, there has been a lot of European influence with the type of feeder used on many farms in Russia. A lot are built with tube type feeders which are difficult to manage and can restrict feed intake. The alternative has been a simple dry box feeder.


A well designed wet/dry feeder is known to increase feed intake by up to 5%. More feed = faster growth rate = more kg sold!


C. Classical Swine Fever Vaccine.

This is required by law. Growing pigs are given 2 shots of a live vaccine. This vaccine is tough on pigs and really reduces growth rates. I estimate it reduces days to slaughter by between 5 and 10!

Russia has managed ASF without a vaccine. Surely can do the same for CSF?


D. Nursery and finisher buildings much too hot.

Russian’s tend to run their nursery and finisher buildings much too hot. Anything over 23oC for pigs over 20kg reduces feed intake and therefore growth rate!

Maximising growth rate and producing heavier pigs is a no brainer under normal circumstances. If China does open its borders for Russian pig meat and the price increases as a result heavier pigs will have the same effect as planting money trees!


Producer Success Story using
Genesus genetic line 


Geraldine and Lee Chaferr, Grange Farm, UK 

Geraldine and Lee Chafer run a 300-sow farrow-to-finish unit




“With a lot of focus, hard work and determination, the Chafers have established a thriving and profitable pig business with just a £10,000 investment. Their genetic line (Genesus) means they have phenomenal production figures.”


If there is one couple who know what they want and will achieve it, it is Lee and Geraldine Chafer. Sheer hard work and determination has allowed them to turn an initial £10,000 investment five years ago into a profitable and thriving 300-sow farrow-to-finish business.


Their initial investment was in a 1,200-sow outdoor herd producing weaners for Tulip.

However, being tied into a strict contract and with a 90-minute commute each way from the farm, the couple decided to sell it and establish their own outdoor sow herd.


In 2018 they set up a 300-sow outdoor herd at Grange Farm – a 28 ha farm they started renting back in 2016. They built an additional 1,600 weaner spaces to finish all the pigs themselves.



  • 15 live-born piglets a litter
  • 12 Number of pigs weaned a litter
  • 96-100 Conception rate (%)
  • 2% Finishing mortality
  • 2.24 Feed conversion ratio
  • 700g Daily liveweight gain (7-45kg)



  • The five-week batch-farrowing system has been designed with the intention of labour efficiency and staff needs in mind. Currently, only Lee and Geraldine work on the farm, with some relief help at busy periods.

  • All dry sows are fed with electronic sow feeders, meaning they only need to go into the field once a week to feed.
  • Many outdoor units have failed to get electronic sow feeders to work, but the Chafers’ commitment to training gilts to use the feeders means they work well here.
  • Lee says: “The theory of electronic sow feeders are great. It means you are not driving a tractor around and disturbing the land. It manages their weight, as they are fed a specific ration, and it saves time, as you only have to fill the feeder once every seven to 10 days.”
  • All gilts and sows are EID tagged, so they can be individually fed using the electronic sow feeders. Lactating sows are fed using ad-lib hoppers in individual paddocks that only have to be filled every two weeks.
  • The sows are housed in plastic, spherical pig arcs that are designed to outlast wooden and metal huts. Furthermore, the spherical shape makes them easier to clean, as they don’t have corners.



  • When the pair established the herd, they opted for the highly prolific Genesus breed line, which combines Large White and Landrace genetics.
  • Growth rates in the finishing herd are phenomenal. Piglets are growing 700g a day from weaning until 45kg and their growth ability means they are selling pigs at 14 weeks weaned at 110kg deadweight.
  • Feed conversion in the finishing herd stands at 2.24 and mortality about 2%.
  • Their prolificacy also means they have high born-alive figures, with some litters containing up to 15 piglets.
  • Conception rates and farrowing rates are also high, at between 96-100%.
  • All pigs are finished inside on straw bedding and are sold as RSPCA-approved, outdoor-bred pork to Karro Food Group. Their contract with Karro means all pigs must have entire tails and no teeth clipping is allowed.
  • Each finishing pig has more than 1m space, which is more than the RSPCA Freedom Food standards of 0.8m per finished pig.


The future


Although the business is still in its infancy, Lee and Geraldine are already looking at how to take the enterprise forward. In the next two to four years, they aim to be wholesaling their own product to add value to their pigs.


Lee says: “We don’t have a plan in place yet, but we want to be adding value to our product and not have all our eggs in one basket.”



  • The system design, which reduces the need for staff on the farm
  • Clear focus on where the couple want to go
  • High welfare across the entire farm
  • Excellent growth rate figures


  • Established initially with a £10,000 investment
  • Recently sold 1,200-outdoor sow farrowing unit and set up their own 300-sow farrow-to-finish unit
  •  28ha tenanted farm


source: Farmers Weekly UK / July 2019


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