Topigs Norsvin opens $15 million boar testing facility in Manitoba

Dutch swine genetics company Topigs Norsvin officially opened a $15 million hog research centre in Manitoba on Wednesday.

The company’s Delta Canada facility is located near Woodlands, in Manitoba’s Interlake region, which was chosen due to its isolation from other pig production and its proximity to Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport for shipping breeding stock and semen around the world.

Unlike a typical hog barn, the facility is equipped with a CT scanner for measuring carcass composition, robustness, and meat quality, as well as IFIR feeding stations for individual feed intake tracking. It will house around 2,600 animals and test 7,500 nucleus boars in the company’s TN Tempo sire line and Z-line dam line every year.

“Delta Canada will substantially increase the genetic progress in our Z-line and TN Tempo. It is part of Topigs Norsvin’s long-term breeding strategy and will substantially contribute to our target of doubling genetic progress in the coming period,” said Hans Olijslagers, chief technology officer of Topigs Norsvin, in a statement.

The company says several new genetic nucleus herds will provide animals to the research centre, with the first boars leaving the facility at the end of this year.

The investment by Topigs Norsvin comes as the Manitoba government has taken steps to loosen restrictions on new hog production. Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler was among the dignataries at the grand opening celebration on Wednesday.

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