Page 14 - Australian Pork Newspaper
P. 14

Heat stress cost to pork industry
looking for a cost-effective strategy to improve the growth rate of pigs under hot conditions.
Impact two is sows mated in summer having a reduced farrowing rate – known as ‘summer in- fertility’.
Chief Executive
New Zealand Pork is the statutory industry board that works to support New Zealand’s commercial pig farmers. They’re working together to build a sustainable and pro table future for the New Zealand pork industry, reinforcing welfare standards and communicating on behalf of the industry to the community. At New Zealand Pork, they believe it is important for every Kiwi to understand the industry and where New Zealand’s pork products come from. The Board are seeking a Chief Executive to provide inspired leadership and management of their activities and services.
Reporting to the Chair and Board, and working with an established team, the Chief Executive will lead all company operations including policy, communications and media engagement, research and branding activities in addition to all corporate support functions. A key area of focus is the implementation of NZ Pork’s vision and facilitating the growth and further development of the business on behalf of growers.
You will have strong commercial acumen with proven communication, advocacy and leadership skills alongside the ability to be in uential at all levels across a diverse range of stakeholders. Experience
in or an a nity for the NZ rural sector will be a de nite advantage. The successful candidate will
also possess strong operational, human resource and  nancial management experience at a senior executive level. Experience in leading teams, building a positive team culture and driving organisational performance is a prerequisite to success in this role.
Candidates can download a position description and apply online at www.she To apply by email, please attach your cover letter and CV and send to cvchc@she quoting 7948APN. Applications close on 23 January 2022. Emails will be electronically acknowledged and further correspondence may be by email. For more information please phone Mike Stenhouse on +64 27 442 8348.
SUMMER is here – has your pig farm prepared for a heatwave?
High carcass backfat at- tracts price penalties in the Australian pig market.
Pigs are highly suscep- tible to heat stress.
Impact two
With the funding sup- port from Australian Pork Limited, researchers from Rivalea Australia and the University of Melbourne completed a collaborative project to understand the October fat pig phenomena.
Understanding the major impacts of heat stress in pigs can help pig producers prioritise investments in mitigation strategies.
In Australia, the sows mated in summer had ap- proximately a 10-15 per- cent reduction in farrowing rate compared with the yearly average.
A recent review paper presented at the Australa- sian Pig Science Associa- tion 2021 Conference sum- marised three major im- pacts of heat stress in the pig industry.
The low farrowing rate manifests as an increased proportion of early preg- nancy disruption observed around 35 days post- mating.
Farm data suggested that the sows mated in summer had an increased propor- tion of born-light – less than 1.1kg – piglets from 16-24 percent.
It is estimated that the three major impacts of heat stress may cost the Aus- tralian pig industry $22 million per year.
To maintain the constant supply of finisher pigs to the market, pig producers impacted by summer infer- tility usually need to mate extra sows to compensate for the reduced farrowing rate.
It is estimated that the greater proportion of born-light piglets can in- crease populational car- cass backfat by 0.3mm at slaughter, resulting in a $4.20 loss in the car- cass value, equivalent to $5.3 million loss for the 1.25 million finisher pigs born to the sows mated in summer in Australia.
Rivalea Australia re- search scientist Dr Fan Liu and his research col- laborators from University of Melbourne and Cornell University conducted this literature review, aiming to provide the pig industry a progressed understanding of major impacts of heat stress and an update on mitigation strategies. Impact one
For compensating a 15 percent reduction in far- rowing rate, it is estimated that feeding and mating the extra sows and the pro- longed non-reproductive days will increase the cost of production by $2.70 per finisher pig born to the sows mated during the summer infertility window.
University of Melbourne PhD student Mr Weicheng Zhao found that the in- creased carcass fatness of progeny born to sows mated in summer may be related to the impacts of gestational heat stress on foetal development.
Impact one is the reduced growth rate of grower fin- isher pigs during the hot season.
Data published in Scien- tific Reports showed that exposing pregnant gilts to hot conditions during early- mid gestation can reduce placental nutrient trans- porters and reduce foetal muscle fibre numbers.
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The summer conditions in Australia were reported to reduce the growth rate by 8 percent – this magni- tude of reduction can cause a 5kg reduction in carcass weight.
The economic loss is equivalent to $3.4 million for the 1.25 million finisher pigs that were born to the sows mated in summer in Australia.
The impaired muscle fibre proliferation during the foetal phase may com- promise muscle deposition potential in the later life, thus resulting in more en- ergy deposited as fat tissue.
As the peak pork con- sumption season in Aus- tralia is in summer, Aus- tralian pig producers do not have the flexibility in delaying slaughter age to maintain carcass weight.
The 5kg reduction in car- cass weight is estimated to be a $10.90 loss per finisher pig, equivalent to $13.6 million for the 1.25 mil- lion finisher pigs slaugh- tered during summer in Australia.
Multiple strategies have shown beneficial effects in improving the farrowing rate of sows mated in summer, including sup- plementing essential fatty acids during summer lacta- tion, dextrose supplementa- tion during the weaning- to-remating interval, hor- mone support for early embryo survival, vitamin Bs supplementation during gestation and optimising stocking rate of gestation pens.
Impact three is progeny born to the sows mated in summer having increased carcass backfat at slaughter, resulting in a seasonal peak of backfat around October in the Australian pig in- dustry – termed as ‘Oc- tober fat pigs’.
So far, no effective strategy has been devel- oped to offset the negative impacts of gestational heat stress on progeny pigs. Summary
In summary, the above three major impacts of heat stress are estimated to cost the Australian pig industry around $22 million per year, while the heat stress associated with increased mortality rates, additional labour and energy costs have not been calculated.
Increasing dietary fat or oil inclusion rate has been reported as a major dietary strategy to improve the growth rate of finisher pigs under hot conditions.
Impact three
However, it is advised that pig producers should eval- uate the cost and benefit of this strategy given the current high price of tallow.
The current heat stress mitigation strategies de- veloped are mainly nutri- tion-based, as nutritional strategies are suitable for seasonal usage and mainly a one-off investment.
The pig industry is still
More comprehensive strategies should be inves- tigated, such as environ- mental control, animal housing and management, and breeding pigs with greater heat resilience and reversing the pace of global warming.
This literature review has been published in the open-access journal Animal, and can be accessed via sciencedirect. com/science/article/pii/ S1751731121001920
For more information on this review and the authors, contact Dr Fan Liu at fliu@
Page 14 – Australian Pork Newspaper, January 2022
Dr Fan Liu of Rivalea Australia.
Dr Fan Liu Rivalea Australia

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