World class genetics delivered locally in Russia

As Russia strives to become entirely self-sufficient in pork production, a significant and growing contribution to strengthening the national pig production industry is provided by the partnership between two leading pig breeding companies: Hypor and the Znamensky Selection Genetic Center (ZSGC).

Hypor and the Znamensky Selection Genetic Center (ZSGC) have worked together for many years to deliver world class pig genetics through animals that are bred locally in Russia. The partnership combines ‘the best of both worlds’. With growing demand for its pigs, Hypor-ZSGC continues to expand its operations. 

Russia’s national pig herd currently comprises approximately 1.8 million sows. The target is to increase this to 2.5 million by 2020. The industry has changed dramatically over the past few years into a highly professional operation, with large producers, a high level of management and decreasing, small-scale, ‘backyard’ production. The market grew by 5% in 2015. The largest producers in the country achieved 8.7% gains.

“As the import of pigs into Russia is now restricted due to import bans put in place to protect against the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) and African Swine Fever (ASF), Russian pig producers need significant numbers of high quality pigs that are produced locally,” explained Ton ten Dam, Hypor’s Manager in Central and Eastern Europe.  “The Hypor-ZSGC partnership can meet these requirements with products that perfectly fit the market: robust, easy to manage and highly-productive, at the highest possible health level. Production and sales of Hypor’s genetics throughout Russia are growing rapidly year-upon-year.”

Strategic Partnership

The ZSGC is part of the Exima Holding. It was founded in 2006 in response to a pressing need to strengthen the pork industry in Russia. ZSGC initially established its first nucleus of first-class pig breeding facilities in Russia’s Orel area, approximately 350km south of Moscow. To populate the facility, ZSGC selected top quality genetics from global breeding company, Hypor - the pig breeding Business Unit of Hendrix Genetics, a leading multi-species breeding company with activities in layer-, turkey-, pig-, aquaculture- and traditional poultry breeding. Headquartered in Boxmeer, in The Netherlands, Hypor is dedicated to improving genetics. It combines more than 50 years of experience, expertise and investment in pig breeding, cutting-edge knowledge and a continual, long term focus on improvement. Its unique approach has helped advance global pig production.

“Hypor’s proficiency extends beyond providing breeding stock. It not only supplies the best genetics for pork production at the least cost and highest quality, but offers industry-changing solutions,” said Elena Klimova, General Director of ZSGC. “Strategic partnership with Hypor was in-line with our vision to produce high quality, high health breeding pigs in Russia and strengthen our national industry, and in-line with Hypor’s vision to breed locally.”

In 2007, Hypor and ZSGC signed a long-term breeding and distribution agreement for the Russian market. More than three thousand pure line Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) breeding pigs were selected by Hypor and brought over from Hypor’s SPF nucleus farms in Canada to populate ZSGC’s new breeding facilities. To ensure maximum genetic progress, ZSGC’s nucleus farms were connected with Hypor’s global breeding program online.

Market Leadership

Hypor-ZSGC began supplying pig producers in Russia with highly productive sows and boars of modern breeds in 2008, providing them with a new opportunity to produce finishing pigs with outstanding qualities, such as daily gains up to one kilogram, excellent feed conversion, high livability and prolificacy. The partnership has since emerged as the largest supplier of breeding pigs in the country.

ZSGC now has four nucleus- and three multiplication farms in the Orel area with a total of 16,000 sows. In addition, it has established a first multiplication farm (1,600 sows) in Russia’s Ufa area, approximately 1,300 km east of Moscow. From these combined operations, it supplies pig producers in Russia weekly with breeding pigs from the Dam and Sire lines.  Hypor’s complete dam line portfolio and Hypor’s Magnus and Hypor Maxter sire lines are now available in Russia. In the future, Hypor Kanto boars will also be available. With ever-increasing demand, production at both locations sites will be expanded further in the future. Construction of another nucleus farm in Ufa is already planned during 2017


With the new facilities, Hypor-ZSGC will be able to supply Russian pig producers with more than 75,000 F1 and 5,000 Grand Parent (GP) gilts per year.

 “Hypor-ZSGC currently has a market share of about 30% in Russia and continues to grow the coming years,” said Elena Sizareva, production director of ZSGC. “One of the keys to the partnership’s success is that we can supply volume, as well as quality, for the large-scale producers that now dominate Russia’s pig production industry. ZSGC can supply Hypor breeding stock in volumes of 5,000+ from one farm, which is highly beneficial for biosecurity.”    

 “To continuously realize the highest possible genetic improvement, ZSGC’s farms are connected with Hypor’s global breeding program via weekly exchange with Hypor’s central breeding database,” explained Mr. Konrad Broekman, Hypor’s Senior Geneticist. “In addition, genetic links between Russia, Europe and Canada are maintained via regular import of excellent Great Grand Parent (GGP) boars and semen from Hypor’s top sites. Selections for the local breeding program are carried out according Hypor’s strict and well-established protocols.”

”The breeding program is fully connected to the Russian breeding system and both parties fully cooperate to ensure the best breeding animals are available locally,” added Ms. Nadezhda Svezhentseva, Geneticist at ZSGC.

Highest Health and Biosecurity Standards

ZSGC’s breeding farms have maintained the highest health status possible worldwide since 2007. Dr. Wouter Deley, Hypor’s Senior Veterinarian and Health Manager, explained how this remarkable sanitary status has been established and maintained during the years:

“Facilities are strategically-located in a low disease risk area, and ZSGC-Hypor adheres to the highest standard biosecurity protocols to avoid any contamination,” he said. “Its herds are screened monthly for health and a wide range of diseases.”

Production at SPF health status is essential. Several diseases, particularly PED and ASF are a significant current threat to pig production in Russia.

Import bans put in place to protect against the spread of these diseases and others have emphasized the benefits of local production – significant imports of breeding pigs are simply not necessary. Ultimately, the customers of ZSGC-Hypor also benefit from the significantly lower cost price per kilogram of meat production with SPF animals compared to non-SPF production.

Optimal Collaboration

Hypor-ZSGC’s operations meet the world’s highest standards in breeding, production and performance. Optimal collaboration between the two partners ensures that these standards are maintained. Hypor’s technical support specialists in breeding, general management, veterinary, artificial insemination and feeding visit ZSGC’s breeding facilities and customer farms in Russia monthly. In addition, the staffs of ZSGC receive the highest levels of training and education and strive continuously for best-in-class performance.

“Hypor-ZSGC have a partnership built on many years of collaboration,” said Nikolay Demin, General Director of Exima. “Working together since 2007, they have accumulated an extensive knowledge and expertise base that supports their excellence in breeding, producing and selling modern pig genetics on the highest possible level locally in Russia.”

Potential for Further Growth

With the Russian market now approximately 85% self-sufficient, but pork consumption in Russia still increasing, there is potential for further growth that could be augmented by export from Russia to Asia - another promising option for the near future.

“The Hypor-ZSGC partnership is one of Hypor’s biggest operations worldwide. This strong and strategic partnership is so successful, because both Hypor and ZSGC share the same ideas about breeding, management and investing in people,” said Thijs Hendrix, President of Hendrix Genetics. “Hypor and Hendrix Genetics will continue to provide full commitment to ZSGC for further expansion of local operations throughout Russia.”