Page 16 - Australian Pork Newspaper
P. 16

Tackling pork market with innovation
Wheat shipments to grain-hungry China surge
AUSTRALIAN goods exported to China reached $145.2 billion for 2020 despite a year rife with tariffs and trade restrictions, ac- cording to preliminary figures.
than the $148.4 bil- lion total for 2019, which was the highest recorded in ABS data since 1988.
tonnes of Australian wheat last month, S&P Global Platts reported.
Australia shipped 600,000 tonnes of wheat to China last month – the largest-ever monthly wheat export total from Australia to any single country.
Amid blistering de- mand from grain-short Chinese importers, in part due to supply short- ages in competing Black Sea markets, Australia shipped 600,000 tonnes of wheat to China in December and a further 110,000 tonnes in Jan- uary, according to com- modities analyst S&P Global Platts.
Australia’s 600,000- tonne shipment was well ahead of its last re- cord single shipment of wheat at 400,000 tonnes in early 2014.
Despite warnings that Chinese authori- ties might block Aus- tralian wheat amid an escalating political row, wheat exports to China surged last month, underscoring a year when overall trade be- tween the countries ap- proached a record high.
The ABS confirmed the bumper sale to China in December ac- counted for a third of all wheat exported from Australia and was its largest-ever monthly wheat export to any single country.
Given decreasing competition from export restrictions in Russia, Australia is well-placed to supply wheat not only to eastern Asia but also markets in the Middle East and Africa – re- gions where Black Sea and European suppliers traditionally dominate.
After three months in which there had been no wheat trade between the two countries, hundreds of thousands of tonnes changed hands in De- cember, valued at $248 million according to preliminary trade data from the Australian Bu- reau of Statistics.
Vietnam and Indo- nesia each received shipments of 265,000
The 600,000-tonne shipment was booked in September and its suc- cessful export in De- cember was a good sign that Australian wheat orders were not being turned away, unlike other commodities such as coal had been.
The exchange came in sharp contrast to the tensions that rocked the China Australia re- lationship for most of 2020.
Final export figures will be confirmed early February, but based on preliminary interna- tional data, Australia’s total goods exported to China reached $145.2 billion for 2020.
Just 2.16 percent less
Photo: Melissa Askew
WHEN it comes to value adding, particularly for the smaller pork and bacon producers, the Australian pig industry is finding its feet and adopting new ways to market product, often using direct relationships with butchers.
He breeds his own pigs andlambsonhisproperty a little west of town.
Mr Dowton said his ham smoking process during curing used shavings from either white box, moun- tain red gum or even aca- cias.
“I fill the trailer with straw (home grown ce- real) and you can see the pigs enjoy the ride,” he said.
Australian Pork Lim- ited released its roadmap for the future this month in the form of the Stra- tegic Plan 2020-2025 and it highlights some of the important ground the in- dustry has made in the past decade to combat ongoing threats such as cheap imports, climate change and animal wel- fare issues.
He started his butchering career as an apprentice to Greg Gillin, who bought the shop in the late 1980s.
All his wood comes from their property Four Winds between Walma and Arthurville.
Mr Dowton said he was using Duroc sows with either a Red Duroc or a Large White boar to produce his pigs for the butcher shop.
APL chair Andrew Baxter outlined in the re- port that in the past 10 years the industry had increased domestic pork consumption by 35 per- cent while at the same time grown the industry to be worth $5.3 billion via a lift in productivity.
As a result, the shop offers cured hams and chickens, plus smoked products including bacon, chooks, and a range of homemade salamis.
Mr Dowton said he tried to manage up to three lit- ters from his sows a year.
At present, he has an Aussie White ram whose progeny are about four months and getting close to market.
During the same period, Mr Baxter said piggeries now used 60 percent less carbon and many generate electricity via on-farm waste.
Their butcher shop is now one of only three family-own butcher shops in town, but it's still com- peting well against the Coles and Woolworths meat aisles also in Wel- lington.
Mr Dowton said the taste of his Merino lambs was fantastic.
During the next five years APL intends to spe- cifically target market and product differentiation, better management of market volatility, driving consumer demand, social license and enabling vi- able productive farms.
But at the coalface many pork producers are already making their own luck and generating strong commu- nity demand for their in- novative pork products.
Wellington butcher and pork producer Rodney Dowton is right in the thick of making a living from both ends of the meat and livestock pro- duction chain.
Mr Dowton and his wife run the Dowto's Family Meats butchery to comple- ment the farm's produc- tion.
“You really can't beat Aussie hardwood for smoking, although acacias are soft, but give a real bush taste," he said.
“I reckon they fall asleep they are so comfortable, and I can assure you they're hard to budge out of the straw when they arrive.”
Mr Gillin was a spe- cialist when it came to curing and Mr Dowton said he soaked up all the mentoring he could to be- come quite adept with the process.
All their animals are rangeland bred and reared, so there's a ‘grassfed’ taste to the meat with not a lot of grain.
In addition to the pigs, he runs Glenwood SRS blood Merino ewes with either Merino or meat breed rams.
The lead-up to Christmas preparing hams meant all hands on deck at Dowto's Family Meats butchery.
“They roam the farm and piglets have to sur- vive, especially the foxes in winter, and I'll market those as either suckers or baconers, depending on the time of year, and of course the lead up to Christmas is ham time,” he said.
The progeny are all sold as home-grown prime lamb.
Rodney Dowton with two of his homegrown and cured hams in his Wellington butcher shop. He produced more than 100 hams to sell before Christmas. Photo: Mark Griggs
Page 16 – Australian Pork Newspaper, February 2021
New bait to combat feral pig incursions
Mr Dowton takes his stock to Cowra abattoir for slaughter.
“I reckon you can't taste the difference between these and crossbreds,” he said.
SODIUM nitrite is used in small quantities to cure bacon, but scientists have stabilised the chemical to persist long enough in an outdoor environment to use it to kill pigs.
dispensed from a moulded plastic hopper to stop non- targeted species accessing it.
the entire family unit is killed.
One of the new technol- ogy’s developers Dr Linton Staples reckons it’s a game changer and could become a frontline defence should African swine enter the country.
While the baiting area must be signed, the APVMA has approved it as an S6 chemical, meaning there is no specific training or certificates needed for its use.
“Aerial shooting is sup- pression, not control,” Dr Staples said, suggesting in any given area 75 percent of the population needed to be taken out to begin quelling it.
The key to the bait is sodium nitrite’s ability to convert hemoglobin into methemoglobin, elimi- nating red blood cells’ ca- pability to carry oxygen.
Dr Staples said the team at Animal Control Tech- nologies Australia (ACTA), which developed the chem- ical and named it Hoggone, reckoned the cost per dead pig was about $5.
He said aerial shooting cost estimates in the US, areas of which have similar feral pig problems to Aus- tralia, put per head dead from US$25 to $US50.
The end result of that is the pig goes to sleep then dies without awareness.
The hopper costs about $400, is reusable and can be moved from property to property, meaning the cost can be shared among landholders.
For the past few months ACTA has been working with Local Land Services and farmers on Kilarney near Hillston with camera monitored baiting points.
Dr Staples compares its effects with carbon mon- oxide poisoning.
In trials the paste without the active ingredient is first put out, then the pigs be- come ‘besotted’ with it.
Dr Staples, who runs Angus breeders on about 400 hectares near Victo- ria’s Lake Eildon, said be- cause of sodium nitrite’s nature, there was no chance of secondary poisoning by scavenging animals.
The research into the new bait, which now has Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Au- thority approval for use, began 12 years ago.
Then one good dose of sodium nitrite is added and the bait does its job.
He has worked in the pest elimination field for 30 years, with an agricul- tural science, fundamental research background.
Initial investigations were of pigs’ metabolism, seeking exploitable weak- nesses.
“They’re affected by it within minutes and dead within about three hours,” Dr Staples said.
He successfully worked to improve fecundity in sheep using melatonin.
Once sodium nitrite was identified, then came the challenge of stabilising the chemical in an outdoor en- vironment.
But the desire for the tasty morsel has them hanging around for more, meaning results are easy to tally.
It was then he realised what farmers already knew, foxes were taking the extra lambs.
This was technically dif- ficult because it is “the hardest I’ve worked on in 30 years,” according to Dr Staples.
Most carcases can be found within 100-200m of the hopper.
It was then he moved into pest control.
The final version of the baitisinpasteformandis
First appeared on the-
And because pigs live in family groups of 10-50 the whole lot can be taken out, whereas shooting from a helicopter doesn’t assure
Since then he has helped develop Fox Off, Rabbait, Mouse Off and Rat Off.

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