Page 4 - Australian Pork Newspaper
P. 4

Tough time to push productivity but no time like now
☛ from P3
shown in Table 1.
I have assumed a feed
cost of $400/tonne in all scenarios.
Many herds are operat- ing to the left of Table 1 and to become more sus- tainable, we need more to move to the right.
Plenty of producers are operating between scenar- ios five and six and head- ing for seven and maybe beyond.
Technology and know- how exists and research- ers continue to seek ad- vances in reproduction and feed efficiency.
Clearly, those to the right will weather the cur- rent crisis best and come out of it quicker than those operating to the left.
All need to move right in the short to medium term. COP this
It is interesting to look at the sensitivity of COP to the different indicators.
For every extra pig sold/ sow/year, COP improves by 5 cents/kg.
For every 1kg increase in carcass weight, COP improves by 1.5 cents.
While this doesn’t seem much, it’s easier to add 4kg (6 cents) than get an extra pig to market and we really need to do both.
For every 0.1 unit change in HFC, COP changes 4 cents and all three are additive.
Increasing volume also reduces HFC, so a double whammy on COP.
This is shown for pigs sold in Table 2 with feed at $400/tonne and carcass weight at 75kg.
Costs other than feed vary across the industry and seem considerably lower for Sarah Willis’s Queensland benchmark- ing group ($1.04) than Pork CRC’s benchmark- ing group ($1.30), which has participants from eve- ry state.
There are plenty of ways to skin the cat, but remem- ber productivity pays.
To be sustainable in a globally competitive in- dustry, we need to get COP near $2.40.
It does not mean you sell more pigs per year, but can achieve budg- eted numbers with fewer
Table 1
sows and at lower cost, while enhancing flex- ibility within the business and giving you a better chance of being a long- term player.
If you are cutting back matings, ensure it is the less-productive sows that exit the herd – every herd has 40-50 percent of these.
The best Australian herd in our benchmarking pro- ject in 2016-17 sold 26 pigs/sow/year, had a car- cass weight of 84kg and HFC of 3.54.
It can and needs to be done.
Otherwise, I wish you all the best in these dif- ficult times and hope the situation turns around sooner rather than later. Weaver award
I was delighted on the first day of the 2018 Pan Pacific Pork Expo to see Alice Weaver receive the prestigious Ron Collins Memorial Travel Award.
Her PhD (‘Effect of lac- tation and boar exposure immediately post-partum on ovarian function and expression of oestrus’) at the University of Ad-
elaide under Dr Will van Wettere was supported by Pork CRC and last year Alice was the first person to be awarded an Indus- try Placement Program appointment under the South Australian Govern- ment’s funding to Pork CRC.
These days Dr Weaver is research officer at the Braun family’s Myora Farm at Mount Gambier, SA, where she is respon- sible for the piggery’s re- search and development activities.
It also made me very proud to hear 2016 Ron Collins Award winner Rebecca Athorn, also a Pork CRC IPP and PhD, address PPPE prior to the announcement of Alice’s success.
As part of her IPP, Re- becca enjoyed five months in Canada assessing the genomic aspects of lac- tational oestrus in pri- miparous sows with Prof George Foxcroft on a col- laborative study between SARDI, Pork CRC and University of Alberta.
We now have something like 28 Pork CRC post- graduates, post-docs and IPPs employed in the in- dustry.
Many are inspirational and all are giving back to the industry that has helped them on their way to big, bright futures.
These capable, smart young people are sharing the rough ride the indus- try is experiencing right now, but with their youth- ful enthusiasm, unclut- tered by old baggage, they just might help us clear a path so we can all ride into a better future.
Let’s hope so.
Well worth a read if wanting to understand more about pigs and us.
Waste not, want not
Pigs sold/sow/y
Carcass weight (kg)
COP ($/kg)
Pigs sold
Costs other than feed ($/kg)
Table 2: Impact of pigs sold/sow/year on COP.
HAVING last month briefly referred to ar- chaeologist Dr Pia Spry- Marques and her fasci- nating 2017 book Pig/ Pork Archaeology, Zo- ology and Edibility, I thought I’d share a little more.
Pia’s research originally took her across Europe and across time, from the late Iron Age back to the Ice Ages, when she iden- tified, classified and de- coded what was meant by animal remains in human- associated deposits.
Having tentatively touched on the sensitive topic of how best to han- dle food waste in May’s column and, dare I say it, how feeding recycled, treated food scraps to our pigs needs more debate, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into one of Pia’s chapters, appropriately titled ‘Food waste and modern farming’ to see what she had to say.
With exorbitantly high grain prices being experi- enced by Australian pork producers right now, cou- pled with low pig prices due to oversupply, I’m sure talk of alternative feed sources, even just supplementary, would be on the lips of many, albeit swill feeding is not only a prohibited pig feed but pretty much a prohibited subject.
Anyway, let’s see what Pia touched on.
She says researchers are trying to come up with the most efficient (and law abiding) ways of turning food waste into nutritious and compact feed for pigs.
A number of projects in the US, for example, aim to advance dehydra- tion technologies so volu- minous restaurant waste can be transformed into tightly packed dry feed.
She reveals that research by Prof Robert Myer and his team at University of Florida has looked at the nutritional composition, digestibility and other health and safety assess-
Cant Comment by BRENDON CANT
ments of this kind of feed. One of their studies in- volved collecting 500kg of food thrown away by two Florida resort hotels and then blending it and drying it at 170-190C be- fore mixing with soybean
Nutritional analysis
showed it to be moder- ately high in protein, high in fat and relatively low in fibre – all desirable pig feed qualities.
The concoction was fed to finishers.
Prof Myer and his team concluded that dehydrat- ing food waste produced a safe, nutritious feed, pro- vided it was heat treated appropriately and met re- quirements of the 1980 Swine Health Protection Act.
Anyway, in an exciting development on the food waste front a lot closer to home, I was delighted to hear Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash and Assistant Min- ister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Zed Seselja re- cently announce that the Fight Food Waste Coop- erative Research Centre had successfully attracted $30 million in funding from the CRC program to
form an overall resource pool of $133 million over 10 years.
The CRC will com- mence on July 1, 2018.
It is estimated that Aus- tralian households throw away almost $4000 worth of unused food each year.
The Fight Food Waste CRC will support indus- try-led collaborations be- tween researchers, indus- try and the community to address the issue of food waste and help the Gov- ernment fulfil its Nation- al Food Waste Strategy commitment to halve food waste in Australia.
Senator Cash said the new CRC had great poten- tial to deliver economic and social benefits: “As the Australian Govern- ment’s longest-running grant program, the CRC program is at the heart of our efforts to bring researchers and industry together to focus on solv- ing industry-related prob- lems.”
Senator Seselja said the CRC program had a proven track record in delivering tangible ben- efits for industry and the community: “It continues to be central to the Gov- ernment’s commitment to improving the competi- tiveness, productivity and sustainability of Austral- ian industries and this funding will be used to identify opportunities and solutions to reduce food wastage from paddock to plate.”
Dr Steve Lapidge, Di- rector of Food Safety & Innovation at SARDI and Deputy Chair of PIRSA’s Food Innovation Task- force, was the Bid Leader and is Interim CEO of Fight Food Waste CRC.
While I’m not sure if the new CRC’s remit will cover ways and means of generating livestock feed from food wastage, I can only imagine (and hope) that it would.
Meanwhile, let’s keep our trotters crossed on the food waste front.
Page 4 – Australian Pork Newspaper, June 2018

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