From the top shelf

 

Pork CRC Initiatives May 2018

by Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

APRIL matters in May

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Pork CRC Initiatives April 2018

by Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Sizing up mortality matters in the USA

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Pork CRC Initiatives March 2018

by Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell

Wake up to weights and vary volumes

I’ll set the scene this month by summarising our global position for 2016.

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Pork CRC Initiatives February 2018

by Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell

CRC looks up genes to see what it can see

This month I will update you on three recently completed Pork CRC projects.

Two attempted to develop traits and techniques for disease resilience and progeny survival and one compared how swing sided farrowing pens and farrowing crates impact piglet survival and performance.

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Pork CRC Initiatives January 2018

by Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell

Pork CRC sees grainy outlook

Welcome to another year and one I sincerely hope will be good for you and the Australian pork industry.

I expect your perception of how good 2018 might be will depend largely on pig prices and costs. At this early stage of the year, predicting grain prices, at least in the short term, may be easier than predicting pig prices.

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Pork CRC Initiatives December 2017

by Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell

Melbourne marathon matters

Let me take the initiative in this Initiatives column by getting in early to wish you all a safe and enjoyable Christmas and may the harvest be kind and prices remain at least static through the Christmas and New Year periods.
Also, I want to remind you that our summer course, ‘Science and Practice of Pig Production’, runs from January 29 to February 9 at University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Campus, South Australia.
The course is open to anyone in the industry, with Pork CRC covering the travel and other costs of the first 15 production based personnel to register for the course, so discuss it with those you need to in your organisation and register ASAP.
All details, including the registration form and social events, are up on our website (porkcrc.com.au) or can be obtained from Rebecca Smith, email rebecca.smith@porkcrc.com.au or Dr William van Wettere, email william.vanwettere@adelaide.edu.au, who will be running the course again this year.

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Pork CRC Initiatives November 2017

by Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell

Eventful year for high achieving CRC

We are rapidly heading for Christmas and Pork CRC has a couple of big events coming up.

The first is our annual Stakeholders’ day on November 18. This will be the last stakeholders’ day for Pork CRC and I hope to have our program leaders summarise where we’re at (after some seven years of operation), what’s left in the pipeline and where gaps might still exist across the programs. The latter is important because, if warranted, these can be covered by APRIL and/or APL and getting feedback from the audience will play a major role in making such important decisions.

The meeting is at Level 8, Residence Room, Grand Hyatt Melbourne, 123 Collins Street.

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Pork CRC Initiatives October 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

SunPork’s fresh food people have market intelligence

I have been on the road attending and presenting at SunPork’s Biennial Conference on the Gold Coast and at a couple of producer meetings run by ECOPHARM in NZ. All meetings were informative.

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Pork CRC Initiatives September 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Pork CRC digesting eating quality research findings

Pork CRC has invested a lot in improving the eating quality of pork and I believe eating quality is more variable than almost any biological indicator of pig performance, including reproduction.
Eating quality varies across cuts, with the loin and silverside being generally the ‘worst’. It varies considerably across supply chains and there is little consistency across studies for the effects of sex, carcass weight or diet.
We have, however, generated an extraordinary amount of information on all these aspects and this is being developed into an eating quality pathway for the Australian industry.

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Pork CRC Initiatives August 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Top of the table research

This month I am highlighting some very interesting research outcomes from Pork CRC Program 1 (‘Reduced confinement of sows and piglets’), which reflect the high level of science being conducted by our researchers.

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Pork CRC Initiatives July 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Pork CRC confronting hot issues with cool science

Last month I suggested the next battles on the provenance front will likely need to confront antimicrobial use and resistance and environmental enrichment, firstly of pregnant sows and then all classes of pigs.

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Pork CRC Initiatives June 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

CRC sees challenges and solutions ahead

Predictably, declining prices for pork producers was top of mind at the recent APL delegates meeting.
Also no surprise was that the theories advanced for the price decline were many and varied, including importation of cooked ribs and products such as pulled pork produced from imported pork, the fire at Swickers and its impact on boning and freezing capacity and increased production through expansion and productivity.

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 Pork CRC Initiatives May 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Pork CRC project pipeline full and flowing

Many business and industry activities, plus some travel, made for a rather hectic, but very productive, first four months of 2017.
Pork CRC held its final investment round with the budget approved by the board on February 28.The APRIL board met for the first time on February 27.We then had the SA Pig Day, the WAPPA backed WA Pig Day Out and the Victorian Pig Fair. In the meantime, I attended the Mid-West Animal Science Meetings in Omaha Nebraska, USA, a Feed Grain Partnership meeting in Queensland and an Aunir (AusScan) board meeting in Singapore in late March.
The last week or so of April was a little quieter, but we are still in the process of negotiating agreements with those organisations who were successful getting projects approved in the eighth and last Pork CRC investment round and we’re gearing up for the first investment round for APRIL.

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Pork CRC Initiatives April 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Turbulent time in US and global pork markets

I spent a week in the USA in mid-March to attend the Mid-West animal science meetings and catch up with some of the key industry players. Although bitterly cold in Omaha, I warmed to some interesting experimental outcomes and industry trends.
Despite low and variable margins in the past 12-24 months and declining domestic demand for pork, producers are expanding production and investing in packing (processing). The investment in packing is probably encouraged by the excellent margins made by packers in the past five years when their margins have ranged from $20-$50 per pig processed.

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Pork CRC Initiatives March 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Benchmarked Australian pork producers cop a hit

After checking and rechecking the results, I can now reveal (see Table 1) the Cost of Production (COP) and production or performance indicators for Australia and selected countries for 2015.
Unfortunately, they are correct and show that on COP our position is similar to last year, but has deteriorated markedly globally and for the first time in the 10 years I’ve been doing global benchmarking our COP was higher than the UK and around a $1.20/kg higher than the USA. By the way, I think the US figure ($1.60) is wrong and closer to $1.80, but still very low.
The reason has nothing to do with our productivity, which continues to improve annually. HFC is in line with previous years. Pigs weaned and sold per sow is similar to most other countries with the exception of Denmark and the Netherlands. Because of our light carcasses, weight volume (kg sold/sow/year) was the lowest of all countries and reflected in costs other than feed being 140% higher than the US.

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 Pork CRC Initiatives APN February 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Pork CRC scoring heavily in first quarter

At Pork CRC, we try to plan our activities and prioritise workloads on a quarterly basis and the January-March quarter is looking hectic.
The Roseworthy course (‘Science and Practice of Pig Production’) runs from January 30 to February 10 and I want to thank Rebecca Smith for organising the event with University of Adelaide staff, Will van Wettere for putting the program together and all those who have agreed to teach the course. And, of course, the course attendees (20+) and their employers who have shown the commendable initiative to register and participate from as far afield as Queensland, WA, Victoria and the ACT.
Having completed the eighth and final investment round for Pork CRC on January 27, we spent the last days of January and the first couple of February discussing the reviews of all proposals received and preparing recommendations for the R&D Committee meeting on February 7.
We received 38 proposals across the four programs, with the majority split equally between Program 1 (‘Reduced confinement of sows and piglets’) and Program 2 (‘Herd Health Management’).
I was very impressed with the quality of the proposals received and I think there might be a couple of gems in the mix, but let’s wait and see what our program and subprogram leaders and reviewers think. I will let you know the outcomes after the board meeting on February 28 when the final decision of where we will invest will occur.

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Pork CRC Initiatives APN January 2017

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Pork CRC Powering Ahead in 2017

Based on bumper grain harvests nationally and globally and continuing good demand for High Integrity Australian Pork, 2017 promises to be a very good year for Australian pork producers.
I certainly hope so and we at Pork CRC will do everything in our power to ensure it is.

Margin call
Australia seems to have missed out on falls in grain costs across the rest of the world in 2015 and 2016 and you will see this when I cover the global situation next month or maybe in March.
In 2015 most EU countries enjoyed 14% to 16% declines in cost of production relative to 2014, due largely to reduced feed costs, but we certainly did not. In the US, feed cost declined from $AUD 355/tonne in 2014 to $AUD 291/tonne in 2015 and fell further in 2016. In Australia there was little change in average feed cost between 2014 and 2015 and little relief in 2016. We should catch up this year, although I imagine all pork producing countries will enjoy further feed cost reductions in 2017. With the exception of China, the other countries, however, did not enjoy the relatively high and stable prices we did over the past two years. This is shown for the US industry in Figure 1. They have been less profitable than Australia and are relying on tapping into the market in China to reduce domestic supply and improve profitability in 2017. Indeed, China will play the major role in shaping the global pork situation in 2017. The other big issues in 2017 are likely to be antimicrobial resistance and use and the impact Donald Trump’s US Presidency has on global trade agreements.

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Pork CRC Initiatives APN December 2016

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Year done and another to come: bring it on

Although 2017 is fast approaching, it seems like 2016 will never end.
While it’s been a long, busy and productive year for us at Pork CRC and for you too, no doubt, I think we all have good reason to anticipate next year with a positive mindset.
We have just spent a week or so in Melbourne where we held our final board meeting for the calendar year and our Stakeholders’ day. Both went well.
Not too many issues from the board meeting and the Stakeholders’ meeting was very successful, with great feedback from all participants and excellent presentations from Program Leaders, Subprogram Leaders, our ‘commercialisation custodian’ Dr Charles Rikard-Bell , ‘student advocate’ Dr Alice Weaver and ‘end user’ Dr Brian Luxford.

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Pork CRC Initiatives APN November 2016

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

A Triple C: Course China and Caliper

We are getting close to the end of the year, which means the annual Roseworthy Pig Course (‘The Science and Practice of Pig Production’) is not far off.
In 2017 the course will run at Roseworthy in SA from January 30 to February 10. The course has been career changing for many and covers the basics and the latest developments in pork production, from reproduction to marketing, with visits to mills and abattoirs and much more. If you want to understand the industry and learn the latest from the best then register now.
Pork CRC covers travel and other costs for the first 20 production based personnel to register for the course, so discuss it with those you need to in your organisation and lodge your registration.

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Pork CRC Initiatives APN October 2016

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Keep your cool this summer

It happens once a year and while the outcomes differ year to year, summer infertility remains a problem for many businesses.
It’s therefore best to start thinking now about strategies for this summer. How well you prepare for a likely hot summer will reflect positively in your pigs and your profitability.
The Pork CRC/APL publication ‘PREPARING FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS SEASONAL INFERTILITY AND BEYOND’ is a good place to start. The manual is quite comprehensive and is accessible on the front page of our website (www.porkcrc.com.au) through to the end of February. I urge you not to leave it until then, as it might be too little too late.

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Pork CRC Initiatives APN September 2016

By Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell

Blistering pace set by CRC CEO

I spent most of August on the road and in the air.
And I flew to Canada August 28 to September 3, hence thought I’d give you a travelogue and what’s occurred along the way.
I spent time in WA at the WA Pork Producers’ Association AGM and industry day (August 12), fishing for barramundi in Darwin and in New Zealand where our board met. I also spent a couple of days in Melbourne at the annual review of our programs.

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Pork CRC Initiatives APN August 2016

By Dr Roger Campbell, Pork CRC CEO

Value adding grains and protein meals using AusScan

AusScan and particularly AusScan Online has enabled us to see plenty of interesting results for grains and protein meals globally, while  confirming the need to know what pork producers are using.
Globally, AusScan has been used to determine the faecal and ileal DE on thousands of grains and lysine and other amino acids on nearly 2000 soyabean meal samples, largely through the efforts of AB Vista which runs the service for their customers.
The numbers are not quite as impressive in Australia and I’m not sure what that says about our nutritionists and mills. Some do have the calibrations on their machines but we’re not privy to their results or those received by nutritionists on behalf of their clients. However, we’re fortunate that Denis McGrath, on behalf of the Feed Grain partnership, has assessed hundreds of wheats and barleys from the 2015-16 harvest.
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Pork CRC Initiatives APN July 2016

By Dr Roger Campbell, Pork CRC CEO

APRIL membership opportunity

August 31 is the deadline for signing up as an inaugural member of Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd (APRIL), with the transition from Pork CRC to APRIL progressing very nicely.
APRIL is likely to have at least 11 inaugural members and 12 counting APL, but welcomes more.
The APRIL board will be decided at the AGM this November and the first investment round, which is likely to be in 2018-2109, will be determined by the APRIL board and APRIL’s R&D Advisory Committee.
The establishment timetable for APRIL is outlined below. Membership responsibilities and advantages are detailed in the prospectus on Pork CRC’s website, but the bottom line is membership costs $75,000 per year, with initial membership for three years and continuing on a three year rolling basis. The first payment, as outlined in the timetable, is August 31, 2016, although this can be adjusted on request. The next (second) payment will be in 2020-2021.

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 Pork CRC Initiatives APN June 2016

by Dr Roger Campbell, Pork CRC CEO

Pork CRC proudly partners productive PPPE

You will probably read a lot about the 2016 Pan Pacific Pork Expo (PPPE) in this edition of APN.
Let me say it was probably the best held to date. Everyone seemed buoyant and optimistic. I guess good prices and reasonable margins will do that.
The plenary and technical sessions were well attended. We learned from a futurist to look forward and to understand that progress in IT, technology in general and science is far more advanced than we might think and we must keep an open mind and be aware of what is occurring if we don’t want to be left behind.
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 Pork CRC Initiatives APN May 2016

By Dr Roger Campbell, Pork CRC CEO

 Pork CRC progressing on all fronts

It’s been a busy first few months of 2016, as we establish Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd (APRIL), refine and finalise new projects supported in Pork CRC’s 2016-2017 investment round and ensure our R&D and training programs continue to meet industry and participant expectations.
This has made us reflect on the research program and what’s likely to be delivered to producers and participants in the medium and longer term. I have covered some of these this month.

Pleasing program
I’m extremely pleased with our current R&D program and expect our researchers to deliver some exciting commercial and industry outcomes in 2016. These include vaccines against some common but serious pathogens; new work on establishing and improving the welfare and contentment of sows in farrowing crates; new work on improving eating quality; the first Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Australia’s pork industry; an on-farm herd health/immunity kit; an update on  indicators of the welfare of group housed sows and major projects on better understanding the control of feed intake in grower-finisher pigs and how that information can be used to markedly improve feed efficiency. Click here for more

Pork CRC Initiatives APN April 2016 

By Dr Roger Campbell, Pork CRC CEO

State of the States: US Update

I recently returned from the Animal Science meetings in Des Moines, Iowa, USA, where the latest in pig and pork research is presented and discussed and where you catch up with what is happening commercially in the industry.
Last year the issue was antibiotics and new Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulations concerning antibiotic use in animal agriculture. The new regulations came into effect on January 1 this year and really relate to the more judicious use of antibiotics. The FDA has published a list of antibiotics considered important in human medicine and their use must be determined and scripted by veterinarians for specific use in animal agriculture and drug companies must remove any growth promoting claims for most of their antimicrobial products.  Carbadox, ionophores, polypeptides, bambermycin and pleuromutilin are exempt. If you want more detail on the new rules let me know.
This year there were several presentations on alternatives to antibiotics, as you might expect, but no other real outstanding industry issues. PEDv seems a thing of the past, but never say never and as of March 2016 no new disease has been detected in the USA, but PRRS remains a challenge and one of the reasons antibiotics are needed in the pork industry. Click here for more.

Pork CRC Initiatives APN March 2016

By Dr Roger Campbell, Pork CRC CEO

April much more than just another month

With meetings and events almost every day through February, the start to 2016 has been hectic, but, I must say, also enlightening.
In this March Pork CRC Initiatives column I want to remind everyone about APRIL (the company that is) and highlight a few things I learned at the recent South Australia Pig Industry Day.

APRIL ahead
As you’re aware, APRIL (Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd) is the entity which will replace Pork CRC which when we wind-up on June 30, 2019.
Pork CRC has generated significant additional research and training activity since its inception in 2005 and has helped keep Australia up with and often ahead of our international competitors. We don’t want to lose this momentum, especially as the Australian industry continues to improve its global position and, more importantly, consolidates and expands its domestic success.
APRIL is established, is likely to start investing in research and training in 2017-2018 and is looking for inaugural members to sign up before June 30 2016. Click here for more.

Roger Campbell SA Pig Industry Day 260216_0553

Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell outlines where Australian pork producers sit in the global context at the 2016 SA Pig Industry Day.

Tom Smith_0194

Innovative Victorian pork producer Tom Smith of Kia-Ora addressed PPPE in 2012. His son Caleb will address PPPE in 2016 and is likely expand on what he had to say recently at the SA Pig Industry Day about how they’ve improved weaning figures. Kia-Ora is in Pork CRC’s benchmarking project.

Kate Plush (002)

Dr Kate Plush of SADI told the SA Pig Industry Day what herds in SA are doing in terms of reproduction.

Pork CRC Initiatives APN February 2016

By Dr Roger Campbell, Pork CRC CEO

Australia well in the race

It’s that time of year again, with global business indicators for calendar year 2014 now available and summarised for selected countries in Table 1.
The Australian results are based on Pork CRC’s benchmarking project and for some KPIs are likely to be somewhat above the Australian averages.
The Canadian figures for reproduction might be below the industry average, but these are what’s been reported. Clearly, cost comparisons depend on exchange rates, which tended to favour Australia in 2014 and in 2015, but they do reflect the price we (and others) can place on our product on the international market. In this respect the US continues to lead the world. Click here for more

Steve Deb Hoffrichter with sows_0091

 

Steve & Deb Hoffrichter with group housed sows at their 600 sow Shark Lake, WA, piggery. The Hoffrichters are enthusiastic participants in Pork CRC’s benchmarking project.

Pork CRC Initiatives APN January 2016

By Dr Roger Campbell, Pork CRC CEO

A new year with some old challenges

Happy New Year.
Welcome to 2016 and let’s hope it is as successful for you all as 2015.
Margins in 2015 were good to excellent, depending on where your business is situated and due largely to high prices offered for Australian pork.
Based on the average cost of production from Pork CRC’s benchmarking project and the average of the sellers and buyers prices reported by APL for the eastern seaboard, the average margin was around $30-$40/pig or $600-$800/sow. Of course some did better than this and others worse. Based on COP and reproduction, the better producers, exceeded the average margin per pig and sow by 180 to 200 percent.
Higher prices are likely to continue through 2016 and will generally be enjoyed by most producers. Aside from renegotiating supply contracts, prices will largely be beyond the control of producers and will generally reflect factors such as beef and lamb prices and the inherent demand for and supply of high integrity Australian pork. Click here for more

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