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Tough time to push productivity but no time like the present
IT was clear at the Aus- tralian Pork Limited Delegates’ Forum on the Gold Coast on May 29 that the industry crisis continues, with prices remaining low and still slipping, while grain and feed costs are heading north.
There was debate about the magnitude of the over- supply situation and when it may ease enough to pos- itively affect price.
Estimates ranged, but many suggested it could run through to August next year.
I hope not.
Productivity pays
During times of plenty and like now, there is a tendency to forget about efficiency and productiv- ity.
Also, while producing more pigs at such a time may seem like madness, let’s not forget that more pigs sold per sow is one of the secrets to lower cost of production and sustain- ability.
Indeed, carcass weight sold per sow, per year is where the greatest oppor- tunity exists for Australia to become more competi- tive.
On average, we sell about 1700kg per sow/ year.
The US sells 2200kg and consequently has
much lower costs other than feed than we do.
Much of the difference is due to carcass weight, which is about 76kg here and 92kg in the US. Heavy demand
While unlikely that we will ever get to 90kg, as the market demand here is markedly different, we may get to 80kg – the Brits did and they face a similar market situation to us.
Otherwise, we need to wean and sell more pigs per sow or do a bit of both.
Our best producers are weaning 11 and selling 24-25 per sow/year, so it can be done, with the right mix of superior genetics and good management.
Given our high grain and feed costs, the other factor we need to con- centrate on is herd feed conversion.
We currently match the
rest of the world on HFC, which averaged 3.7 for our benchmarking group in 2016-17.
The best three herds re- ported HFC of 3.45.
The effects of these key business indicators across various scenarios on cost of production and breakeven price are
☛ continued P4
Alice Weaver with Pork CRC CEO and Acting APRIL CEO Dr Roger Campbell after receiving the 2018 Ron Collins Memorial Travel Award at PPPE. Dr Weaver’s University of Adelaide PhD was supported by Pork CRC and last year she was the first to be awarded an Industry Placement Program appointment under the SA Government’s funding to Pork CRC.
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Energy and soils in focus
☛ from P2
Participants have been asked to provide a topic they would like to investigate further so the visit can be tailored based on these requests as each participant will be reporting back to industry about their learnings. Opportunities aris- ing from change – we bid farewell to Dr Pat Mitchell
Many of you will be aware (most likely through the pig in- dustry’s grapevine!) that Dr Pat Mitchell is leaving APL to take up a role with PIC Aus- tralia, with her last day being Friday, June 8.
I’d like to take this opportunity to sin- cerely thank Pat for all her very significant (and too numerous!) achievements she has delivered on behalf of the Australian pork in- dustry during her 10 years with APL.
Pat has always kept the producer as her pri- mary focal point in all that she does – a criti- cal legacy she leaves us with.
All of us in the R&I Division will greatly miss directly working with her and her ‘can- do’ attitude and we wish her every success in her new role.
Farewell, Pat!
I am also pleased to advise that I have been appointed General Manager of the R&I
Division and look for- ward to working with you all in my new ca- pacity.
While talking about staff changes, Ashley Norval will commence her Masters/PhD through the University of Copenhagen over a four-year period com- mencing in mid-July.
Her studies will fo- cus on using recent ad- vances in adult learn- ing to develop new and effective training strat- egies for stockpeople in the pig industry to drive the adoption of new technologies on- farm, while minimis- ing productivity losses.
Her outcomes will certainly be of high relevance to the Aus- tralian pork industry.
Ashley’s studies will require her to be lo- cated in Denmark for about eight months each year, returning to Australia for around four months.
Ashley will not be leaving APL entirely – we are finalising ar- rangements for her to manage the industry’s benchmarking pro- gram and oversee the industry’s leadership initiatives.
For further informa- tion on any of the top- ics discussed in this article, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0423 056 045 or heather.channon@aus
Australian Pork Newspaper, June 2018 – Page 3

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