Driving excellence in semen quality

As a market leader in the pig industry, PIC South Africa realizes the responsibility that lies on our shoulders to be able to deliver a world class product on a consistent basis. Being able to sustain that performance, PIC made some changes, upgrades and additions to our current features.

  • Looking at semen production equipment, PIC added another MiniBSP to the existing MiniBSP and TwinPacker as backup to the current 950 tubes per hour MiniBSP fully automated semen packaging machine. Tube packaging capacity have increased tremendously with the addition of this piece of equipment,
  • Boar capacity were increased at our current boar station. The 150 capacity boar station near Middelburg were doubled to house 300 boars – a 50% increase in housing facilities. That did not only provide more animals at hand but caused great increases in genetic trends due to an increased population size. A second boar house facility had been built on a brand new site, adding further capacity of 200 boars to the operation. A third boar station is under way to further increase the available boars.
  • PIC extended all our semen routes to be able to deliver semen on any customer’s farm, country wide.
  • Semen extender determine the longevity and semen quality at time of expiry. PIC upgraded to Androstar® Plus, a long term semen extender, to ensure semen can handle temperature fluctuations better and has the necessary antibiotics, buffers and antioxidants as well as a specialised membrane protecting agent.
  • To ensure no identification error between different genetic line boars, or individual boars, PIC microchipped each boar in the boar station that enables the laboratory to operate strictly on bar codes and provide no room for human error.
  • PIC upgraded the computer software program that perform semen evaluation to a world class CASA software program, AndroVision®.

PIC RSA liaised with multiple international sources of expertise in order to implement satisfactory contingency plans to ensure continuous production of semen for the next number of years. 

This solution includes establishing multiple boar stations where semen collection will occur, pre-diluted and then transported to the off-site lab, located in a central area. That will increase biosecurity measures, allow for specialist functions in terms of specialist Boar House Manager, specialist Laboratory Manager, stockmen and drivers.

By establishing more than one boar house, 20km apart, the boar houses become contingency for one another, without affecting semen production. This multi-site production flow created opportunity to PIC RSA to improve boar quarantine facilities to supply boars to multiple boar stations. The Boar Training and Quarantine Centre was established near Magaliesburg and is in full operation since late 2018. To implement this strategy, PIC removed the semen production laboratory off-site to a neutral area, where pre-diluted semen can be received from the different boar stations. The off-site lab also provides for advantages of its own.

  • Overall hygiene improved with epoxy floors and walls, stainless steel equipment and surfaces and glass and aluminium finishes.
  • Temperature maintenance is enhanced by the cement ceiling of the lab and multiple heavy duty aircons with a 24hr automated monitoring system.
  • Although no animals are on the premises, a strict shower in and shower out policy is followed to ensure top biosecurity. Semen from across provincial borders can be processed without having boars on site that might be at risk. Time management can be planned better as semen collection occurs on multiple sites simultaneously.
  • Workflow of the employees is a major benefit as there are more flexible logistics, processing times can be planned better and most importantly, specialist functions can be applied. A dedicated Boar House Manager can focus on semen collection and animal welfare and management aspects while a dedicated Laboratory Manager can focus on the processing and events occurring in the lab.

PIC will always stay true to our motto of Never Stop Improving – and in this case we will Never Stop Improving Semen Quality.

Lab Applications

PIC is committed to stay on the cutting edge when it comes to semen assessment and as such has equipped our lab stocked its lab with the very latest in semen analysis and processing equipment. Coupled with applying the most up to date technology we also routinely have full semen doses checked by 3rd party specialist to ensure everything we do, is creating the most consistent product possible.

Our PIC GTC is supported by Minitube Germany. Minitube is a world leading manufacturer and supplier of AI technologies and equipment. Our PIC GTC is 100% equipped with the latest Minitube products which includes instruments like Computer Assisted Semen Analysis, Mini-BSP automated filling, and sealing, labelling and packaging machine, laboratory management software and automated dispensing.

Data Logging

PIC rotates data loggers through the delivery pattern to ensure that each delivery route is monitored for temperature fluctuations on a regular basis. The loggers travel with the semen in the sealed packs, and stay with semen until next delivery, which is when the logger can be sent back, and interpreted. We will then return the print out of the temperatures that were recorded, in the form of a graph, and interpret if necessary. Not only does this monitor temperature during delivery, but also monitors the temperatures that are occurring in your cooler in the barn.

At PIC we only use the very best in semen extenders. The majority of orders are filled with manufacturer specified 5 day extender. If customer warrants the use of a longer term solution to fit their production needs we are able to use an extender classified for up to 10 days.

GTC Technology

PIC is the leader in the supply of liquid genetics to producers in South Africa. To support the industry and the growth in demand for our PIC products. We have constructed a more than 165 boar stud in Middelburg from where semen of all our boar lines are distributed.