Genus, the UK registered international pig and cattle genetics company, has posted half year growth across both its livestock divisions.

The company has reported an operating profit of £35.5 million on revenues of £285.7m in the six months to December 31st 2020, compared to £28.1m and £270.7m a year earlier. With joint ventures included, but not its gene-editing research, the operating profit was up 27% to £38.7m.

The PIC porcine genetics business saw sales growth of 4% to £142.9m, with a strong performance in the Asia and Europe regions. There were high breeding stock sales in China as the country recovers from the 2019 African Swine Fever epidemic.

Pig prices fell across Europe in the period, and the company expects pressure on prices to continue into 2021 – due to lower consumption during the pandemic, plus a backlog of pigs due to Covid-19 related labour shortages in slaughterhouses. Genus reports sow herd reductions in North West Europe, with state buyout programmes to improve the environment, forthcoming animal welfare regulations and poor market conditions.

The cattle division, Genus ABS, returned revenue growth of 9% to £129m with Brazil, Russia, India and China leading the increase. The company’s Sexcel branded sexed semen volumes grew by 42% – Sexcel now accounts for 20% of ABS’ global sales volume – and the NuEra beef genetics by 22%.

Genus reports that UK dairy customers limited herd growth due to the pandemic, while European beef prices fell moderately in the second half of 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The company has a £50m capital investment programme over the next two years, with new pig nucleus farms in Canada and Russia and new and upgraded bull housing facilities in the US and UK.

The business is also investing in genetic improvement as a means of lifting livestock sustainability – particularly to reduce the use of carbon/energy, water and land resources in animal protein production, as well as lowering livestock greenhouse gas emissions.