In a new development for the Hermitage business, PIC, global leader in swine genetics, and Hermitage, a genetic production and distribution partner of PIC, have agreed to establish a PIC Global Elite Herd in Ireland.

The traditional pig breeding pyramid model provides an easy-to-understand pig flow and concentrates genetic improvement investments in a few places.
PIC, in 2015, moved from a traditional genetic nucleus system to a group of elite farms that drive genetic improvement together by being directly linked with each other through semen shipments. This link creates a larger elite population that allows PIC to increase selection intensity and accelerate genetic gain. It enables more direct shipments from elite farms to PIC customer farms and studs, reducing genetic delay (“genetic lag”) for customers.

Following an extensive review by PIC, Hermitage Farms Ltd has been selected to be a replicate of their leading global elite herd, similar to PIC’s Apex in the USA. Hermitage Farms’ Freneystown unit will become an elite farm in the PIC network that will disseminate genetic improvement to the worldwide pig industry.
Freneystown is a farm located in Kilkenny with 1,200 sows. This farm has been a core part of PIC’s and Hermitage’s European supply chain network since PIC and Hermitage started their strategic partnership in 2017. The PIC management team value Hermitage’s dedication in genetic production, the quality of the farm operations and farm staff, and Ireland for the country health status, facilities, export certification and co-operation.

Freneystown Global Nucleus Unit
















As part of this process, PIC and Hermitage will restock the Freneystown herd with 1,200 Elite Pure Line gilts. In April 2020, 1,000 gilts and boars travelled by charter flight on board a Boeing 747 from the USA, landing safely at Dublin Airport.










This PIC importation has been planned for over one year; the imported breeding gilts and boars all came from PIC’s Apex elite herd in North America, which is among the elite herds with the highest genetic merit and highest health status in PIC’s Global pyramid.

The significant investment will also involve upgrades in biosecurity and testing equipment. The supply of high health breeding stock from the Freneystown Unit, as a result of this investment, is planned to commence in April 2021.

In its new role as a PIC Global Elite GGP herd, Hermitage Farms will produce PIC elite boars and gilts of the highest genetic merit both for it’s Irish customers and to be shipped globally to stock regional multipliers and boar studs with the goal of reducing genetic lag.

As the exclusive franchise partner for PIC in Ireland, and on behalf of the Hermitage team, I thank all our customers for their business. Hermitage is committed to supplying the top lines of PIC genetics to our customers, along with breeding programme and production support to allow the maximum benefit of PIC genetics to be achieved on farm.
Ned Nolan