February 21 – Novel pork proposals make for good reading
Novel means of monitoring and improving pig health and reproduction, alleviating summer infertility and enhancing genetic progress across the Australian pig herd, were just some of the subjects covered in quality research proposals submitted this week to Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited (APRIL).
APRIL’s first call for research proposals to enhance the competiveness and sustainability of the Australasian pork industry attracted 40 submissions.
APRIL, which replaces the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), is fully member based with an initial investment in 2018-2019 approaching $3 million and is actively seeking new science and creative new ideas.
Pork CRC CEO, Roger Campbell, said that at first reading the submissions looked promising, with some potential game changers, including from overseas scientists.
February 9 – Close call for pork proposals
A first call by Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited (APRIL) for research proposals to enhance the competiveness and sustainability of the Australasian pork industry closes Friday, February 16.
APRIL, which replaces the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), is fully member based with an initial investment in 2018-2019 approaching $3 million and is actively seeking new science and creative new ideas.
APRIL’s strategic plan for research is largely about making the Australasian industry more resilient and sustainable by markedly reducing cost of production through enhanced productivity and differentiation in specific areas.
January 24 – Pork CRC Ponders Pig Feed Efficiency Flaws
In his latest report to stakeholders, CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork CEO, Roger Campbell, said Australian pork producers were making good progress in reproduction and they matched their overseas competitors for herd feed efficiency, but they came a long way last in volume, or kilogram carcass weight sold per sow, per year.
“The latter is reflected in Australia’s much higher costs, other than feed, than our global competitors and this must be addressed through better sow productivity and potentially heavier carcass weights,” he said.
Dr Campbell acknowledged that the issue of heavier weights was market driven and largely up to individual businesses working with their customers.
While Pork CRC research had positively impacted born alive and number weaned, he expected further enhancements through Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited (APRIL), which had now called for research proposals to markedly enhance the competiveness and sustainability of the Australasian pork industry.
Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited (APRIL) today made its first call for research proposals to markedly enhance the competiveness and sustainability of the Australasian pork industry.
APRIL, which replaces the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), is fully member based with an initial investment in 2018-2019 approaching $3 million and is actively seeking new science and creative new ideas.
With the objective of commissioning research by the middle of 2018, basically 12 months before the close of Pork CRC operations, the APRIL call will ensure continuity of the current level of research and support opportunities for relevant researchers during the wind-down.
Pork CRC and APRIL Chair Dennis Mutton is determined to drive Australia’s pork industry into areas it has never been before by encouraging fresh, game changing ideas from incumbent and new researchers and harnessing a new wave of scientific power.
“One of the ways the APRIL board has agreed to do this is by identifying and engaging with a previously untapped pool of talent and bringing new and creative thinking into the pork R&D space to increase speed of discovery and delivery of profitable outcomes,” Mr Mutton said.
November 30 – Productive Pork CRC for all to see
Although approaching its wind-up phase, the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork had another very productive year in 2016/17, in terms of research outcomes and raising the capability of researchers supporting the industry, including industry itself taking on employees through the Pork CRC’s acclaimed industry placement program.
In his 2016/17 Chairman’s report, released to Pork CRC participants at its annual Stakeholders’ Day in Melbourne on November 18, Dennis Mutton acknowledged the importance of not only having great research outcomes, but also the capacity to put results into practice along the value chain was critical to success.
“With ongoing planning in place, this situation should not and will not be compromised as the industry continues to face productivity and sustainability challenges in a market environment with strong competition from other domestic protein producers and also from imported product,” he said.
“It is very important that research and innovation effort does not tail off as we come to the end of the term of the CRC. We have just completed contractual arrangements for the last significant investment call and projects have commenced.”
These projects, which will run for up to 15 months, need to be completed by September 30, 2018, to allow for the timely wind-up of the CRC in June 2019.
Mr Mutton explained that there would still be opportunities for short term innovation projects to be funded and conducted during this same period.
November 10 – AusScan on the move
AusScan is gaining momentum globally, with scan numbers increasing from 2200 in the 2015 launch year to 11,882 in 2016 and on target to eclipse 22,000 scans in 2017.
This indicates customers are valuing AusScan’s world first calibrations for pig digestible energy (DE), poultry apparent metabolisable energy (AME) and ruminant metabolisable energy (ME) for cereal grains, as well as all amino acids, including reactive lysine in soybean and canola meals.
AusScan uses unique near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) calibrations.
According to globally respected animal nutritionist Tony Edwards, principal of South Australia based ACE Livestock Consulting, the undersupply or oversupply of energy in diets can result in further increased costs due to reduced performance of livestock.
“Accessing AusScan calibrations provides nutritionists with the digestible energy of grains before feeding livestock, allowing more accurate formulations,” he said.
With current high grain prices, one MJ DE/kg can cost $25-30 per tonne.
“AusScan energy calibrations can also help producers confidently select the correct parcels of grains for composite diets,” Mr Edwards said.
October 19 – Pork CRC Benchmarking Producers Progressing
Pork CRC benchmarking results for 2016-17 are in and the progress achieved by Australian pork producers has impressed CEO Roger Campbell.
“I’m very happy with the progress made over time, especially in reproduction,” Dr Campbell said.
“We now have Australian herds exceeding 11 weaned per litter and 26 plus weaned per mated female per year.
“The trends in born alive, number weaned and weaned per mated sow per year have also been very positive over the past six to seven years, with individual herds achieving exceptional improvement year on year.”
Pork CRC held its last Benchmarking Project meeting in Melbourne this week (October 16 & 17), having commenced 10 years ago at a time when the majority of Australia’s pork producers, even those achieving commendable productivity levels, did not know how they were tracking compared with their competitors, both locally and overseas.
Veterinarian Stephanie Nicholas, who commenced work in Western Australia this week with Portec Veterinary Services, is the latest in a long line of Pork CRC Industry Placement Program appointments.
Dr Nicholas, who graduated from Murdoch University in December 2015 with Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (BVMS) and Bachelor of Science Veterinary Biology (BSc), has already completed several externships with Portec.
Portec Principal and veterinarian, Kim Nairn said her appointment would further enhance Portec’s capacity for developing training for Murdoch veterinary students and making more resources available to Australian pork producers to help ensure healthy, sustainable and, hopefully, profitable pig production enterprises.
Since 2007, Portec has designed and delivered the intensive animal industries component of the veterinary undergraduate degree at Murdoch.
August 24 – Cautious optimism at 2017 WAPPA Industry Day
West Australian Pork Producers Association President, Dawson Bradford, highlighted the need to find new markets in Asia which are prepared to pay a premium for WA pork, in his report to WAPPA’s 2017 annual general meeting.
Meanwhile, he noted import protocols, which he believed should have been addressed years ago, were keeping Australian pork out of China, at least for now.
At the August 18 AGM, industry consultant Emalyn Loudon was re-elected to WAPPA’s Executive Committee, along with producer Torben Soerensen of GD Pork at Pinjarra and Dean Romaniello of Craig Mostyn Group. Their terms had expired due to the effluxion of time. Fellow Committee members are Graeme Dent of Bimbadeen Farm at Cuballing and Dawson Bradford of Hillcroft Farms at Popanyinning.
WAPPA’s AGM was part of a very successful 2017 industry day at the International On The Water Hotel at Ascot, attended by producers, industry stakeholders, sponsors and speakers.
Speakers included Roger Campbell of Pork CRC, Deb Kerr and Lechelle van Breda, both of APL, Anne-Maree O’Callaghan of Strategy Matrix, Ruel Pagoto of Boehringer Ingelheim, Fadi Malek of Global Skilled Employment Services, Ron Penn of Linley Valley Pork, Chris Brennan of MSD Animal Health, Bruce Hunt of Zoetis and Christopher Tyson of Bunge Australia.
A 2015 commitment by the South Australian Government to invest half a million dollars with the Roseworthy, SA, head-quartered Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork, has already paid substantial dividends for the state’s pork industry, according to Pork CRC CEO Roger Campbell.
The funding has supported five Pork CRC IPP (Industry Placement Program) appointments at $70,000 each and $150,000 was allocated to the internationally acclaimed Autism in Agriculture Project to help employ nine young autistic adults at SunPork Farms in SA.
“Our IPP, where we place Pork CRC supported graduates with industry, in particular with our participants, is a partnership where funding and training is shared,” Dr Campbell said.
“Business applies for the award and trains the graduates in the business of pork production, while employing them for a minimum of three years. Our job is to ensure the graduate remains involved in R&D and Pork CRC activities.
“Young people get a start in industry and industry benefits from their enthusiasm and injection of fresh ideas and knowledge, which is often very innovative.
“It’s been a truly game changing investment for Pork CRC and industry and we acknowledge the SA state government for recognising this and stepping in to further advance our IPP initiative,” he said.
July 5 – APSA 2017 to reveal the pig science of tomorrow today
Although much has changed in the science behind pig production in the past 30 years, many of the topics researched and analysed remain much the same, including pig seasonal infertility and welfare.
First held in 1987 in Albury, New South Wales, the biennial Australasian Pig Science Association Conference, this year to be held at the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne, Victoria, November 19-22, will hear the latest science behind seasonal fertility, courtesy of Dr Ray King and Professor Alan Tilbrook will review advances in animal welfare.
Interestingly, at the inaugural APSA Conference, Dr David Hennessy reviewed seasonal infertility and Dr John Barnett reviewed welfare.
APSA President, Dr Pat Mitchell of Australian Pork Limited, said the 16th APSA would present cutting edge science, with speakers at the forefront of the global race to back pig production with meaningful science that not only raises questions but also answers them.
June 28 – Pork CRC Students Making a Mark
CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork supported Animal Science Honours student, Danica Evans, who recently received First Class Honours for her work and topped her year, is now doing the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, also at Murdoch University.
Her Pork CRC Honours thesis was titled Comparison of acetylated high amylose maize starch and zinc oxide for amelioration of post-weaning diarrhoea in weaned pigs.
Danica’s supervisor, Prof John Pluske and Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell agreed her results confirmed the efficacy of zinc oxide for ameliorating diarrhoea in newly-weaned pigs, but the mechanism was yet to be definitively established.
After reviewing Danica’s final report, Dr Campbell declared that the positive effects of the maize starch product, a form of resistant starch, on feed efficiency in the third week and overall were interesting and implicated a possible role for lower ileal/hindgut activity in performance.
Pork CRC Program 4, ‘Carbon conscious nutrient inputs and outputs’, conducts research to improve the sustainability of the pork industry, specifically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to about 1 kg carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent/kg pork produced.
An outcome of the program has been the increasing adoption of covered anaerobic lagoons by Australian pork producers to manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and recover the methane from biogas for energy production. The biogas also contains CO2.
Algal biomass produced in high rate algal ponds (HRAP) treating piggery wastewater can remove CO2, from the slurry and potentially from the biogas, contributing to GHG mitigation. The biomass is also an additional source of energy, which could be released via anaerobic digestion or co-digestion with pig slurry.
May 2 – APRIL meeting in May in WA
Pork CRC Chairman Dennis Mutton and CEO Roger Campbell met with West Australian researchers and industry representatives on Monday, May 1 to workshop opportunities and ideas for innovative R&D as Pork CRC transitions to Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited (APRIL), which commenced in November 2016.
Pork CRC’s eighth and final investment round has been completed, with the board supporting 11 of 37 proposals at a total cash value of more than half a million dollars.
The next major investment round will be by APRIL in October-November this year.
According to Dr Campbell, Pork CRC is still open for $50,000 innovation proposals, but these must be very innovative and completed before September 30, 2018.
March 30 – Free Ranging WA Pig Day Out
Free ranging discussions on everything from pig reproduction to pig health management, pig welfare, pig transporting, pork prices, pork marketing and global competitiveness highlighted a lively 2017 WA Pig Day Out.
Attended by about 100 people at Technology Park, Bentley, it was hosted by West Australian Pork Producers Association (WAPPA) and sponsored by Pork CRC, APL, MSD Animal Health, Elanco and Zoetis.
After a revealing presentation on post cervical artificial insemination by Dr Vanessa Morris of Portec Veterinary Services, Portec Principal Dr Kim Nairn built on his 2016 talk on biosecurity by running through a list of emerging on-farm health issues.
February 16 – Pork CRC Commercialisation Advances
Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact, Charles Rikard-Bell, has confirmed that a pipeline of products is being developed which will advance Australia’s pork industry, while, in some cases, earning income for ongoing and future research and development.
“Our pipeline has already delivered products such as the Ridley Sow Enrichment Block, which was commercially launched in October last year, after being showcased at the 2016 Pan Pacific Pork Expo. It now has an international patent pending and 170 tonne of product was manufactured in the first batch,” Dr Rikard-Bell explained.
“It all comes down to reducing aggression between sows when they are first mixed in groups, which is now common practice in modern Australian pork production, and our sow enrichment blocks are delivering positive, measurable outcomes.
“Excitingly, we are about to commission some promising research into refining the block to suit weaners and finishers, rather than just sows,” he said.
Pork CRC and the South Australian government have contributed $150,000 towards a world first initiative by Autism CRC and SunPork Farms to employ autistic adults in animal care positions in the Australian pork industry.
Pilot projects in SA and Queensland will employ a minimum of four autistic adults in animal care positions within SunPork Farms operations in each state.
Collectively, development and assessment of the program represents a financial commitment by SunPork Farms, Autism CRC and Specialisterne exceeding $800,000.
Program goals include:
- Identifying and employing diverse skills and talents of autistic adults in animal care
- Developing innovative solutions that continue to provide optimal welfare for livestock
- Building capacity within the agricultural sector to employ autistic adults.
August 17 – Buoyant Mood at 2016 WAPPA AGM & Industry Day
West Australian Pork Producers’ Association President, Dawson Bradford, has highlighted the buoyant state of the industry in his report to WAPPA’s 2016 AGM.
However, he sounded a note of caution about how possible changes to the ‘Standards and Guidelines’ (Model Code), once its review is finalised, might affect promising growth opportunities for the WA pig industry.
Mr Bradford, of Popanyinning, was re-elected to WAPPA’s Executive Committee, along with fellow producer Graeme Dent of Cuballing, whose terms had expired due to the effluxion of time. Fellow Committee members are Emalyn Loudon of Perth, Torben Soerensen of GD Pork and Dean Romaniello of Craig Mostyn Group.
WAPPA’s AGM was part of a very successful 2016 industry day at the International On The Water Hotel at Ascot, which was attended by about 50 producers, industry stakeholders and WAPPA sponsors.
Speakers included Roger Campbell, Pork CRC, Andrew Spencer and Deb Kerr, APL, Andrew Daff, DAFWA, Kate Savage, Portec, Amanda Vardanega, MSD Animal Health, Meg Donahoo, Boehringer Ingelheim, Tony Heelan of Tony Heelan & Co., Industrial Relations and Management and Rob Wilson, Pork Innovation WA.
Alice Weaver, whose PhD was supported by the CRC For High Integrity Australian Pork, is the first person to be awarded an Industry Placement Program appointment under the South Australian Government’s $500,000 funding to the Pork CRC.
Dr Weaver officially commenced as a Technical Officer at Jeff Braun’s ‘Myora Farm’ at Mt Gambier, SA, on August 3 and will be responsible for the implementation and coordination of the piggery’s research and development activities.
Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell said the SA Government funding was a welcome boost to Pork CRC’s existing successful Industry Placement Program (IPP), where it placed supported graduates with industry, in particular with its participants.
Graduates are then trained in the business of pork production and remain active in research and Pork CRC activities.
A Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork study has found that greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are 38 per cent lower in eco-shelters and 88pc of the variability in production systems with common effluent management systems is related to herd feed conversion (HFC).
Managed by Stephen Wiedemann while with FSA Consulting, Pork CRC Project 4C-117, ‘Environmental impacts and resource use from Australian pork production assessed using life-cycle assessment (LCA)’, is the first comprehensive study using LCA to benchmark greenhouse gas emissions from pork across the full production system.
The project included emissions from feed production, housing, manure management and meat processing and assessed 14 production units across different states and different production systems for at least 12 months.
Average emissions to the farmgate were 3.6 kg CO2-e / kg live weight pork and 6.36 +/- 1.03 kg CO2-e / kg wholesale (chilled bone-in) pork. The lowest modelled emissions were from a Queensland production farm using CAP-CHP systems (1.5 kg CO2-e /kg LW), which is similar to Queensland chicken meat production
(1.3 kg CO2-e / kg LW).
April 14 – WAPPA PIG DAY OUT 2016
An insightful reflection by animal nutritionist Tony Edwards of ACE Livestock Consulting on how the past 30 years of research has benefited pork producers set the scene for a vibrant 2016 Pig Day Out, attended by about 100 people and hosted by West Australian Pork Producers’ Association (WAPPA) and Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) on Friday, April 8 at Technology Park, Bentley.
Quoting fascinating statistics, such as the rise in average daily weight gain from 450gm in the 1970s to 700gm today, pigs produced per sow per year from 16 to 24 and kilograms of meat produced per sow per year from 960kg to 1800kg, Mr Edwards noted that pork production technology had advanced rapidly.
“However, we need to constantly improve to remain competitive and the main driver of improvements will be scientific research. There is still much more to uncover and we are currently well short of the biological potential of the pig,” he said.
Addressing the issue of where Australia sits in the global pig and pork productivity and profitability stakes, Pork CRC CEO Roger Campbell said the Australian industry was currently one of the most profitable and vibrant in the world.
March 1 – AusScan Advances Animal Nutrition
AusScan calibrations have been one of the most valuable technological advancements in animal nutrition in the past 30 years, according to leading South Australian animal nutritionist Tony Edwards of ACE Consulting.
Mr Edwards recently addressed an AusScan near infrared reflectance (NIR) workshop for Australian nutritionists and feed-mill technicians, which aimed to:
- Improve industry’s knowledge and understanding of NIR technology.
- Discuss applications of the technology and improving data management.
- Demonstrate using AusScan Online.
- Discuss the future of NIR.
- Outline how to utilise energy values.
Speaking at the University of Sydney, he stressed that by knowing the digestible energy of grains before feeding livestock, nutritionists could provide more accurate formulations and confidently select the correct parcels of grains for composite diets.
February 11 –AusScan Online expands analysis for soyabean meal
AusScan Online, the revolutionary online platform giving access to unique near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) calibrations, has expanded its offering by adding eight new parameters to its Total and Standard ileal digestible (SID) amino acid product for soyabean meal analysis.
Thanks to extensive and ongoing research by the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) in Australia and Aunir in UK, standard ileal digestible values for methionine, cysteine, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan and histidine are now available through the website at no additional cost to the customer.
“We have responded to feedback from our customers around the world to expand our service, giving them the information they need to make the best decisions,” commented Aunir Director, Chris Piotrowski.
“Adding these eight new parameters to total and SID amino acids means we are delivering more value to customers analysing soyabean meal via AusScan Online than ever before,” he said.
February 4 –Pork CRC Productively Enhancing Pig Welfare
Appetite enhancers for weaners and enrichment blocks for gestating sows and weaners may soon be on the productivity improvement ‘menus’ for Australia’s pork producers.
According to Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact, Charles Rikard-Bell, BEC Animal Nutrition will look to market the appetite enhancer in the first half of this year and commercialisation work for the enrichment blocks will continue throughout 2016.
A second commercialisation study on a novel appetite enhancer based on the ingredient preferences of weaned pigs was completed in January 2016.
Pork CRC, in conjunction with BEC Animal Nutrition and University of Queensland, has focused on producing commercial quantities of the appetite enhancer which would mix, transport and store easily.
Australian pork producers are competitive with most of the European Union on cost and with Canada and USA on reproduction and feed efficiency, according to global benchmarking results for calendar year 2014.
This is the encouraging message that Roger Campbell, CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) will deliver in his opening address, ‘Where we sit internationally and how the best in Australia do it; some good news and opportunities’, at the South Australian Pig Industry Day on February 26.
December 18 – Pork CRC APSA Awards to Inspired Scientists
Pork CRC supported PhD candidate at University of Sydney, Lechelle van Breda,won Pork CRC’s ‘Best Presentation and best first time presentation’ award at the 2015 Australasian Pig Science Association (APSA) biennial conference in Melbourne. Her presentation, ‘Antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli isolated from pre- and post-weaned piglets: a snapshot survey of Australia’, was judged the best presentation at APSA on Pork CRC supported research.
“By virtue of winning the main award, Lechelle also won our award for the best first time presentation or young scientist award and this has never happened before,” said Pork CRC CEO, Roger Campbell.
Also at APSA, Cherie Collins of Pork CRC Participant, Rivalea Australia, received $1000 for the best poster on a Pork CRC supported project, for her poster ‘Aerosol disinfection from weaning: a pilot study to assess the impacts on clinical signs of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae’.
December 10 – Funding Boost for SA Pork CRC Industry Placement Program
Funding of $500,000 from the South Australian Government to the Roseworthy, SA based Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork has been welcomed by Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell, who said the money was a boost to its existing successful Industry Placement Program (IPP).
“Our IPP, where we place Pork CRC supported graduates with industry, in particular with our participants, is a partnership where funding and training is shared,” he said.
“Young people get a start in industry and industry benefits from their enthusiasm and injection of fresh ideas and knowledge, which is often cutting edge science.
“It’s been a win-win for everyone concerned and we’re very appreciative of the SA state government for recognising this and stepping in now to further advance the initiative.”
Pork CRC has supported five IPPs to date and the new funds will help enhance the competiveness of the SA pork industry and provide significant opportunities for graduate and postgraduate students to contribute to what is a vibrant industry.
October 1 – Commercial Focus for Pork CRC
Projects focussed on improving pig nutrition, enhancing weaner performance, increasing reproduction and enriching the lives of group housed sows are at various stages of development and commercialisation with the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC).
According to Pork CRC Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact, Charles Rikard-Bell, the projects range from proof of concept to ready for adoption.
Dr Rikard-Bell said the four key projects which are nearing commercial reality are AusScan Online, a performance enhancer for weaned pigs, patents on improving reproduction and poured blocks to enrich group housed pigs.
Pork CRC CEO, Roger Campbell said all four were well advanced and poised to make a positive impact on Australia’s pork industry.
August 20 – Pork CRC Helping Herd Health
Despite several years of focussed research by the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), much remains to be done monitoring changes in the incidence, virulence and resistance of common pathogens over time and in developing appropriate diagnostic tests, according to Pork CRC CEO, Roger Campbell.
“Pork CRC researchers working on pleuro pneumonia (APP) and other respiratory diseases and enteric pathogens such as E coli, Lawsonia and Brachyspira, have been busy addressing these matters and it will be important, given the global emphasis on antimicrobial use and resistance, that this good work continues,” Dr Campbell said.
“It is a major issue and our industry has the opportunity and potential to further differentiate itself from global and national competitors.”
Pork CRC Program 2, ‘Herd Health Management’, has, however, had notable successes.
July 15 – Pork CRC Sow Welfare Breakthroughs
It’s half time for CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), having just completed four years of its eight year term under the agreement it has with the Australian Government and the majority of its essential and other participants.
According to CEO, Roger Campbell, major progress and breakthroughs in pig and pork R&D were made across all four of the CRC’s programs.
Dr Campbell said that in the next four years, Pork CRC would address areas across its four programs where gaps in knowledge still existed, while helping ensure Australia produces the highest quality pork in the world and that Pork CRC continues to help industry differentiate itself from the rest of the world
July 1 – Pork CRC Comings and Goings
Charles Rikard-Bell has been appointed Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact at Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC).
Announcing the appointment, Pork CRC CEO, Roger Campbell, said Dr Rikard-Bell’s role would be to generate revenue from those Pork CRC research outcomes with identified genuine commercial potential.
In other Pork CRC executive staff moves, Research Manager Graeme Crook, who has been with Pork CRC for eight years, playing major roles in program management, education and student mentoring, translation of research outcomes and managing IT systems, left June 30.
May 9 – Spaced Out Sows Work It Out
Australian researchers have demonstrated mixing sows at weaning, or after mating, has no long term effect on welfare, according to Roger Campbell, CEO, Co-operative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC).
“And excellent reproduction will be achieved, provided sows are appropriately fed and carefully managed,” Dr Campbell said.
“Our researchers, who lead the world in sow welfare, have provided industry with practical solutions and the science behind why they work.”
Pork CRC research into the performance and eating quality of entire male pigs and those immunised against gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), using Improvac™, has revealed that androstenone and skatole, the compounds linked to boar taint, were significantly higher in the belly fat of entire males than in immunised males.
The study, by PhD candidate Karen Moore of WA Department of Agriculture and Food, also showed that androstenone was higher in entire male pigs grown out to heavier live weights (107kg v 74 kg).
A new online platform, known as AusScan Online, is set to revolutionise feed ingredient near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) calibrations, thanks to a licensing agreement between the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) and Aunir. According to Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell and Aunir Technical Director, Chris Piotrowski, AusScan Online users no longer need to load the calibrations onto their NIR machine and can now upload spectra files to the new website and run the calibrations over the internet.
Australian pork producers and sows in their care are successfully transitioning to group housing as part of the concerted efforts to produce high integrity Australian pork and appropriately differentiate the product from that of overseas competitors. Addressing 150 pork producers and industry stakeholders at the recent Pork CRC and APL Successful Group Housing Systems for Dry Sows workshops in Toowoomba, Queensland and Melbourne, Victoria, CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, described group housing the Australian way as “now virtually a done deal”.
Mar 19 – Pauline Mooney Joins Pork CRC Board
Pauline Mooney, Executive Director, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC). Affiliate Professor Mooney replaces Simon Maddocks on the Board, after Professor Maddocks resigned to accept a position as Vice Chancellor at Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory.
Despite the hottest of hot conditions in South Australia during last month’s annual two week Pork CRC supported The Science and Practice of Pig Production course at the Roseworthy campus of University of Adelaide, it once again attracted plenty of interest from pork industry workers and students. According to SARDI’s Professor Paul Hughes, who successfully put it together, the 2014 course covered all aspects of pork production, from genetics and reproduction to nutrition, housing, welfare, health and pig meat.
Dec 3 – Mutton chairs Pork CRC
Dennis Mutton has succeeded John Keniry as Chairman of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), after Dr Keniry AM retired at its recent 2013 annual general meeting in Melbourne. Dr Keniry’s retirement marked the conclusion of eight years as chair of the present Pork CRC and its predecessor, CRC for an Internationally Competitive Pork Industry. Pork CRC Board now comprises Mr Mutton (Chairman), Kathryn Adams, Sandra Di Blasio, Rod Hamann, Professor Simon Maddocks, Professor John Pluske, Kenton Shaw, Andrew Spencer, Chris Trengrove, Professor Robert van Barneveld and Dr Hugh Wirth.
Robert van Barneveld, supported by the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), addressed the opening session of the 22nd biennial Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition Australia conference at the University of New England, New South Wales, on Wednesday, October 23. Professor van Barneveld, who has many roles within the Australian pork industry as a nutritionist and scientist, discussed the key management challenges experienced when pork producers transition from stall-housing systems to group-housing gestating sows. His address is published as a full paper in CSIRO’s prestigious ‘Animal Production Science’ journal, a special edition of which was prepared as conference proceedings. Acknowledging that the transition from stalls to groups can be daunting, Professor van Barneveld believes that most Australian producers are managing the process well.
Australia’s pork industry has embraced the benefits of on-farm biogas energy. According to Rob Wilson, Leader of CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) ‘Carbon conscious nutrient inputs and outputs’ Program, biogas energy suits the Australian pork industry because pork manure offers a high yield to biogas and significant heat is needed on-farm at piggeries.
Recognising that pregnant sows are increasingly being managed in group housing systems, the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) has driven the production of a manual Feeding Pregnant Sows in Group Housing Systems. Launched by Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell at the 2013 Victorian Pig Fair in Bendigo, it was produced with considerable producer input and in conjunction with Australian Pork Limited (APL).
Dec 12 – Berkshire Triticale A Growing Grain Option In 2013
Last season Dawson Bradford grew 500 hectares of Berkshire triticale at ‘Hillcroft Farms’ at Popanyinning in Western Australia’s Great Southern, where he mills all the feed for his 700 sow piggery. An exclusive supplier of pigs to leading WA smallgoods manufacturer D’Orsogna Ltd., Mr Bradford must maximise his feed conversion ratio, hence being able to utilise Berkshire’s high digestible energy content of up to 13.9 MJ DE/kg (about 0.5 MJ DE/kg more than the average energy in other triticale varieties) is a big production plus.
Nov 20 – Mutton added to Pork CRC Board
Dennis Mutton and Sandra Di Blasio were elected to the Board of Directors of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork at its 2012 annual general meeting in Melbourne. Re-elected were Professor Simon Maddocks, Rod Hamann and Chris Trengrove. Pork CRC Board now comprises Dr John Keniry (Chairman), Kathryn Adams, Sandra Di Blasio, Rod Hamann, Professor Simon Maddocks, Dennis Mutton, Professor John Pluske, Kenton Shaw, Andrew Spencer, Chris Trengrove, Professor Robert van Barneveld and Dr Hugh Wirth.
Oct 31 – Group Planning for Group Housing
Put 160 focussed pork producers, advisors, equipment manufacturers and researchers together for a total of three days to discuss improving sow welfare with group housing systems and you’ll generate varied views, some challenges and maybe some solutions.
Such was the case in Toowoomba and Melbourne in mid-October when a $100,000 initiative of the Board of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), to investigate what’s happening commercially and in science and research, culminated in workshopping the whys and wherefores of what works and, indeed, what doesn’t. The Group Housing Solutions Workshops align with Pork CRC Program 1 – Confinement Free Sow and Piglet management, which addresses the significant industry decision to voluntarily phase-out sow gestation stalls by 2017 and some retailer requests to be stall-free even earlier.
Sept 13 – Pork CRC Professional Pathways Pay
There has never been a better time to become involved in Australia’s pork industry, with the innovative, well resourced CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) now offering honours and postgraduate awards, which pay up to $38,500 per year.
More than $7 million of research and development funding has been allocated by the Pork CRC in 2012/13 to support and develop Australia’s pork industry, which employs 20,000 people and contributes $2.8 billion to Australia’s gross domestic product.
According to Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, those existing Pork CRC projects most likely to support honours and postgraduate students have been identified, including the need for a postgraduate student in Sub Program 1B.
The successful applicant will study piglet nutrition and management under new housing and weaning systems we’re developing and also enjoy travel and training opportunities with our international collaborators and participants, he said.
Postgraduate applications are also being sought in Sub Program 4B – optimising the processing of grains to enhance feed efficiency and reduce carbon outputs.
August 27 – Positive Pig Welfare Outcomes
Acknowledging its commitment to maximising positive animal welfare outcomes in research and development projects it funds, the Board of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork has adopted welfare indicators to be assessed in all relevant projects.
According to Board Chairman, Dr John Keniry, the four indicators followed extensive discussions with animal behaviourists and support from Pork CRC independent director Dr Hugh Wirth, a former RSPCA National President and current Victorian President.
The welfare indicators are:
– Lesion scores – reflect aggressive interaction between animals and can be readily and consistently assessed in projects and in practice. It was further recommended that carcass lesion scores should be measured where applicable.
– Salivary cortisol levels – cortisol is an acknowledged indicator of animal stress. Salivary cortisol recommended because it can be assessed less invasively than plasma cortisol.
– Animal performance – changes in performance and health generally reflect well being and physiological state and can be assessed experimentally and practically.
– Aggressive interactions and events – generally a good indicator of animal well being, reflecting the degree of harmony within a group and how an animal might adapt to different situations over time. Recommended that animal behaviour and, in particular, aggressive interactions, be recorded by video, because it is the least invasive of the techniques for assessing animal behaviour.
The indicators, to be assessed in all Pork CRC projects with animal welfare and well being implications, will largely apply to projects within Program 1 (Confinement free sow and piglet management) and Program 2 (Herd health management).
Dr Wirth and fellow Pork CRC director, Andrew Spencer, CEO of Australian Pork Limited, commended the board initiative, describing it as innovative and effectively underlining the CRC’s commitment to acting with high integrity in everything it does.
Dr Keniry said the Pork CRC was all about supporting science that could make a difference and a positive contribution to Australia’s pork industry, from farm to fork.
While stakeholders in animal welfare science, including researchers, producers and welfare groups, have for some time been acknowledging the need for welfare indicators, they had not been consistently adopted, due mainly to lack of agreement on what would permit assessment of the animal itself, rather than the animal’s environment, he said.
Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, a key driver of the welfare indicator initiative, applauded the Board decision, describing it as an excellent starting point for the Pork CRC, but he further hoped to see researchers come up with additional and more novel means of assessing animal welfare and well being.
August 17 – Pork CRC encourages innovations
Proposals for genuinely innovative shorter term projects across the four research programs of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC) are now invited. According to CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, proposals may also be in related areas of pork production, but not be covered in longer term projects and priorities, at least initially.
The projects will be funded for 12 months to a maximum of $50,000.
Innovation projects may fill knowledge gaps or investigate new science and theories that might develop system changing information and technologies, Dr Campbell said.
July 9 – Strategic Project Funding by Pork CRC Board
At its June meeting, the Board of Directors of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork approved $2.7 million worth of second round R&D funding for 2012-2013. The funds were spread across the four programs, with Programs 2 (Herd health management) and 3 (Healthy pork consumption) each receiving $750,000 – $760,000 and Programs 1 (Confinement free sow and piglet management) and 4 (Carbon conscious nutrient inputs and outputs) receiving $500,000 and $687,000, respectively
According to Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, this comes on top of the $4.6 million allocated in the first funding round last year.
I’m pleased to report that we’re already close to seeing some positive, industry changing outcomes from projects funded in that first round, he noted.
Dr Campbell said there were some very innovative second round proposals: The quality of proposals was excellent, which meant the review process had to be particularly rigorous, with 32 of 54 applications being recommended by the R&D Committee and supported by the Board.
Recognising the significance of the industry decision to voluntarily phase-out sow gestation stalls by 2017 and Coles request of its pork suppliers to be stall free by 2014, the Pork CRC Board, at its June meeting, allocated $100,000 in additional, strategic funds to investigate what’s happening commercially and run refresher workshops.
May 29 – Pork CRC opens one-stop Gas Shop
Launching its Bioenergy Support Program at the Pan Pacific Pork Expo 2012 marks the first step of an internationally acclaimed commitment by the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork to reduce the carbon footprint of Australia’s pork producers to one kilogram of carbon dioxide per one kilogram of meat.
With an Australian Pork Limited life cycle assessment having indicated more than two thirds of greenhouse gas emissions were generated from piggery effluent ponds and with more than 90 per cent of Australia’s pork production utilising ponds to manage effluent, a significant opportunity existed for industry to capture emissions for mitigation or utilisation.
According to Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, methane capture, utilisation and flaring, would be some of the most effective steps in realising the CRC’s carbon target.
“As part of Pork CRC Subprogram 4C, Carbon Neutral Pork Production, this project prioritises production, capture and use of methane from piggery effluent treated in covered anaerobic lagoons,” he said.
Dr Campbell said that specific efforts towards carbon neutral pork production would involve novel research to maximise methane production from effluent ponds so that gas collection and use can be made more economically viable.
“Alternative approaches to waste management will also be assessed to develop solid waste pork production systems that mitigate carbon outputs,” he said.
April 11 – CRC sees healthy role for Australian Pork
Pork’s role in a balanced diet and lifestyle and how it might assist weight management and address critical health issues such as Type 2 diabetes, is the focus of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork Subprogram 3B, Health benefits of fresh pork.
The Pork CRC has allocated a set amount of its research funds for shorter term Innovation projects to be funded for 12 months and to a maximum of $50,000.
According to Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, these projects may fill gaps in existing knowledge, or investigate new science and theories able to develop system changing information/technologies.
The Pork CRC is now calling for shorter term projects in Subprogram 3B that represent genuine innovation with applications closing on April 20
Mar 26 – New Director for CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork
New Zealand pork producer Chris Trengrove has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork, replacing Sam McIvor as the Board representative of Essential Participant, New Zealand Pork. Formerly CEO of NZ Pork, Mr McIvor resigned from the Board on February 28, after leaving NZ Pork to take up a position with a private meat business in NZ.
Announcing the appointment, Pork CRC Chairman, Dr John Keniry, said he expected a smooth transition, as Mr Trengrove has been a Director of NZ Pork for the past 15 years and was Chairman for nine years.
“Aside from owning and running a 450 sow piggery for the past 30 years in partnership with wife Judith, Chris has other impeccable credentials for a new Pork CRC Director, including a decade working in banking, five years chairing the R&D Committee of NZ Pork and five years on the Massey University/NZ Pork Consultative Committee. “Significantly, Chris was also very supportive of NZ Pork’s initial decision to join the Pork CRC at its inception in 2005,” Dr Keniry said.
Mar 8 – Pork Projects with a Difference
Research projects demonstrating quality, system changing science that could successfully be adopted by Australia’s pork industry will be considered for funding by the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork, which called for proposals on March 1.
The CRC’s Expert Scientific Groups met in January and identified research priorities, with most activities in the second round of funding directed at Programs 2 and 4.
Jan 4 – Presenting Pork CRC APSA Awards
University of Queensland post-graduate, Larissa Beale, has been awarded Pork CRC Best Presentation at the 2011 13th Biennial Conference of the Australasian Pig Science Association (APSA) Conference, recently held at the Adelaide Hilton Hotel. Her presentation – Probiotics successfully limit the severity of post weaning diarrhoea – scored 81.14 (out of a possible 100) and was the only one in the Top Five which was assessed by all seven judges.
Best First Time Presenter was University of Adelaide post-graduate, Alice Weaver, for her presentation – Feeding gilts high fibre diets prior to mating improves oocyte quality.
Dr Jo Pluske’s Poster –Sourcing cereal feed grains for pigs: what are the views of the supply chain? – won the best poster award, scoring 55.00 (out of a possible 70)
Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell said all presentations and posters were of the highest quality and the competition tough
The Australian pork industry’s medium to long term future, especially in research and development, is clearly in the very capable hands of some fine young Pork CRC supported students.
December 9 – New Pork CRC Launched with High Integrity
Officially launching the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork, Chairman of the CRC Committee, Mr Neville Stevens AO, said it had the potential to build quality jobs and products for Australia. Speaking in Adelaide, on the weekend of the new Pork CRC’s inaugural annual conference, he noted that the CRC was well positioned to address the challenges of environment, health and welfare and developing innovative carbon friendly solutions. Describing it as a noble investment in the future of the industry and regions around Australia, he was confident it would emulate the success of the first Pork CRC. Mr Stevens closed by wishing the Pork CRC and the Australasian Pig Science Association (APSA) every success in their endeavours, after pointing out that the link between APSA and the Pork CRC went back to the beginning of the Pork CRC in 2005.
November 23 – Kathryn Adams appointed to Pork CRC Board
Agricultural scientist and lawyer, Kathryn Adams, has been appointed as an Independent Director to the Board of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork, replacing Nigel Smith who retired after serving for a total of four years on the boards of this CRC and its predecessor, the CRC for an Internationally Competitive Pork Industry.
Announcing the appointment after the Pork CRC’s annual general meeting in Canberra, Board Chairman, Dr John Keniry, said Ms Adams would bring significant skills and experience to the Board, especially in the areas of intellectual property management, sustainable business management, change management and corporate governance.
November 3 – Pork CRC delivers in a Competitive World
Delivering the 2010/2011 and final annual report of the CRC for an Internationally Competitive Pork Industry, Chairman, Dr John Keniry, said its three research programs had delivered exceptional results and played major roles in revitalising the Australian pork industry’s interest in innovation and its willingness to adopt new ideas. “Consistent with market trends, the new CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork will focus on improving pig welfare, reducing the carbon footprint of pork production, reducing medication and improving pork eating quality,” Dr Keniry said. He noted that the new Pork CRC’s fresh research agenda had already captured the attention of producers, industry, consumers and researchers across Australia and around the world. “Operating in a very competitive global environment as we do, we simply must engage the best minds to help us achieve the best outcomes for the challenges we confront. “The new Pork CRC, while built on the very substantial foundations of the first CRC, will do things differently to differentiate Australian pork as a high integrity product, grown in a welfare friendly, healthy, sustainable and profitable environment,” he said.
August 17 – Research Community Helps Kick Start New Pork CRC
Applications for the 2011-2012 inaugural funding round for research projects with the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork are in and early indications are that the research community and industry has embraced the opportunity to help drive the agenda
Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, thanked all applicants and said the breadth and quality of proposals appeared promising, although they were yet to be analysed in depth, as final submissions only closed on August 15.
July 25 – Props needed to Push Start New CRC
Australia’s new Pork Cooperative Research Centre, the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork, is open for ‘business’ and now invites proposals for its inaugural funding round (2011-2012) for research projects.
According to Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, the call for proposals is based on industry and research priorities across the CRC’s four program areas established by its Expert Scientific Groups and R&D Committee in May and July 2011.
He said the Pork CRC was also looking for shorter term projects that represent genuine innovation across its four research and utilisation programs and in related areas of pig science and pork production.
“The innovation awards are new and we hope they will result in some system changing outcomes for the Australian industry and encourage applications and involvement from scientists not usually involved in pig and pork research,” Dr Campbell explained.
June 22 – New Board for New Pork CRC
Ensuring Australian pork is a high integrity meat that is welfare optimal, environmentally responsible, safe and nutritious is the focus of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork.
Commencing July 1, the new Pork Cooperative Research Centre will also have a new Board, with Andrew Spencer, Dr Hugh Wirth and Kenton Shaw appointed as Directors. Replacing Paul Pattison, Associate Professor Wayne Pitchford and Andrew Maughan from July 1, they will join existing Board members, Dr John Keniry (Chairman), Professor Simon Maddocks, Professor John Pluske, Dr Rob Van Barneveld, Rod Hamann, Sam McIvor, Brian Halstead and Nigel Smith.
Announcing the new Board, Dr Keniry said it was vital that Australia’s pork industry maintain local production of reasonably priced, high quality pork, produced at an acceptable return on capital invested, while improving pig welfare, the environment and consumer health
May 18 – BENCHMARKING: When only the best will do
Experienced pig nutritionist Geoff Handley of Highspec Rural Services credits the recent push by Australia’s Pork Cooperative Research Centre (Pork CRC) to implement a national performance benchmarking program, for motivating higher production levels in most of the 10 Queensland farms he consults to.
“By comparing their performance to others in the project, on a standardised basis, they’ve been able to quantify in real world terms where they can still move forward,” Mr Handley explained.
“By sharing information within the group, who run a total of 7500 sows, from the better producers to those who can still improve, significant impacts will be made across all participating farms.
“The Pork CRC benchmarking project and particularly the correlation between such performance parameters as weaning age and pigs weaned per sow per year, will allow the whole industry to adjust its management accordingly,” Mr Handley said.
December 17 – Carr drives Pork CRC into the future
Australia’s pork industry, which has an annual farm-gate value of $1 billion, contributes $3 billion annually to the national economy and generates 8000 jobs, has welcomed the announcement by Federal Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, that the Pork Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has been funded for a further eight years.
After thanking the Federal Government for its $20 million commitment, Pork CRC Chairman, Dr John Keniry, congratulated his rebid team, headed by Dr Rob van Barneveld, with support from CEO Dr Roger Campbell, Dr Darryl D’Souza of APL, Mr Rod Hamann of Australian Pork Farms and Dr Brian Luxford of Rivalea.
We are also very grateful to the Pork CRC’s 40 participants, all of whom I thank for their enthusiasm and support, and their commitment of $18 million in cash and $94 million in-kind over the eight years, commencing July 1, 2011, Dr Keniry said. In particular, I welcome the involvement of the RSPCA and retailers in the new Pork CRC, as this will help us focus on meeting the needs and expectations of consumers.
The rebid, titled High Integrity Australian Pork, comprises four research programs:
1- Confinement free sow and piglet management
2- Herd health management
3- Healthy pork consumption
4- Carbon-conscious nutrient inputs and outputs
July 12 – Pork CRC makes bid for better pig welfare
Research supported by Australia’s Pork Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) suggests changes to how sows are managed and mated in lactation may enable a smooth transition from stalls to group housing, without reproductive performance declining.
Addressing an Animal Welfare Science Centre pig welfare seminar in Melbourne on Friday, July 9, Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell said the new technology, developed by Sydney University researchers, formed the basis of a major program in the CRC’s rebid application recently submitted to the Australian Government.
“One of the program’s core objectives will be the development of cost effective management and housing systems that have no adverse effects on reproduction or cost of production, but will improve the welfare of sows and their progeny,” he told about 50 delegates.