Page 15 - Australian Pork Newspaper
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Pig Farm Perspective
by Bruce the brainy pig
LARGE leaps forward have been achieved in production efficiency traits within the Aus- tralian pig industry over the past five dec- ades.
These improvements have been realised through improved en- vironmental conditions (hygiene, housing, nutri- tion, health) and genetic capacity.
Traditionally, genetic improvement has relied upon breeding programs that select replacement boars and gilts based on their physical attributes and performance.
Over time, evolution of these methods has re- sulted in sophisticated breeding programs such as the Best Linear Unbi- ased Prediction method.
Such methods gener- ate Estimated Breed- ing Values for selected boars and gilts based on either their physical at- tributes or the attributes of their progeny, as is the case for carcass and reproductive traits.
Because both pedi- gree and performance recording can be ex- pensive and difficult to obtain, such recording is often restricted to
breeding animals with- in the nucleus herd.
Advancements in genomic testing pro- vide an opportunity to increase the rate of ge- netic improvement.
Gene marker technol- ogy has been used in the pig industry since the early 1990s.
The most well-known example is the ‘Halo- thane’ gene responsible for porcine stress syn- drome.
Screening of this gene has allowed for elimina- tion in some breed lines.
In 2009, the entire swine genome (com- plete set of DNA) was officially released, and since then extensive research has been con- ducted to determine regions of the genome that may differ from pig to pig and be associated with inferior or superior traits, including: litter size, meat quality, back fat, growth rate and par- entage testing.
Genomic testing for such traits is now com- mercially available to market.
The ability to ‘read’ a pig’s genome provides us the opportunity to develop EBVs and de-
termine genetic merit of individuals within a population based on whether they carry spe- cific regions of DNA that are positively as- sociated with desirable traits.
Once EBVs are estab- lished, breeding ani- mals can be selected at a young age without the need for tracking pedi- gree and performance of offspring (as required with traditional meth- ods).
This greatly reduces the generation interval and accelerates genetic advancement.
It must be noted that reference populations within specific breeds and lines are required to establish gene marker EBVs.
Such populations would rely upon indus- try collaboration.
Looking to the fu- ture, refinement and further research into the genome of pigs may allow selection for traits which to this point have been very difficult to measure, in particular traits such as disease resistance, sow longevity and pig- let mortality.
Results are based on typical progeny growth performance achieved using Primegro Genetics grown under a high health environment and fed using the Rivalea Nutritional Program.
FAO urges scale-up of response to climate change in agri sectors
THE world must scale up its response to cli- mate change, particular- ly in agricultural sectors, appealed Food and Ag- riculture Organization of the United Nations deputy director-general Maria Helena Semedo.
Ms Semedo implored delegates to take more drastic action at a high- level side-event of the re- cent United Nations Cli- mate Change Conference in Poland (COP24).
She said it will require investing in multi-secto- ral policy design, imple- mentation capacity, peo- ple, data, innovations as well as leadership, espe- cially for women.
At the special event, focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 2: Ze- ro Hunger, Ms Semedo warned of increased glob- al hunger levels, driven largely by the impacts of climate change, conflicts and economic slowdown, noting efforts to end hun- ger will become more challenging if warming reaches 2C.
“However, achieving zero hunger is still pos- sible,” Ms Semedo said.
“In order to succeed it is essential to define transformative actions that will reshape our food systems, sustainably and equitably for all.”
She also emphasised the importance of conser- vation of ecosystems to protect the environment
and address the impacts of climate change.
“Our soils, forests and oceans are our allies in effectively supporting cli- mate change mitigation and the adaptation of the most vulnerable commu- nities,” she said. Climate-smart agricul- ture approach in action
At a COP24 side event of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agricul- ture, FAO launched a new publication that showcas- es 10 success stories from around the world, reveal- ing how the management of farms, crops, livestock and aquaculture can meet food security needs while building adaptation to climate change and con- tributing to mitigation of greenhouse gas emis- sions.
Climate-smart agricul- ture is an approach that helps to transform agri- cultural systems to ensure food security and support rural development in a changing climate.
The aim of the publica- tion is to provide the best FAO-led examples of how CSA is not a ‘one-size- fits-all’ approach that can be universally applied but, rather, involves dif- ferent elements embedded in local contexts.
Land use factor – a missing link in address- ing climate change
Ms Semedo also spoke at the joint UN side event on SDG15: Life on
Land at COP24.
Noting the land use
sector is responsible for almost a quarter of global GHG emissions, Ms Semedo underlined it also has great potential to store vast quantities of carbon in soils, forests and wetlands.
“We can make signifi- cant reductions in green- house gas emissions by adopting smarter, inte- grated farming systems, by protecting and manag- ing forests and by shift- ing to approaches that use natural resources sustain- ably and efficiently,” Ms Semedo said.
“This way, the land use sector can change from being part of the climate problem to becoming part of the solution and deliver up to 30 percent of the climate mitigation needed by 2030.”
Ms Semedo also high- lighted the vital role of partnerships, innovations and technology in scaling up joint efforts to better manage forests and land.
At the event, FAO and NASA launched a new open-access tool Collect Earth Online allowing anyone to track land use and landscape changes anywhere in the world.
It will enable countries to strengthen measuring, monitoring and reporting capacities on forests and land use.
Australian Pork Newspaper, January 2019 – Page 15

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