Page 3 - Australian Pork Newspaper
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Roger over and out
THIS is likely to be my last Pork CRC Initiatives column for Australian Pork Newspaper, a pub- lication that serves the industry very well.
I finish with Pork CRC on July 15, but will be doing some work under another agreement to fi- nalise the 20 or so pro- jects still active with Pork CRC.
Of course I will ensure all relevant outcomes get to you.
I may also continue as interim CEO of Austral- asian Pork Research In- stitute Limited for a pe- riod, but this is still to be sorted.
It has been a pleasure working in the pork in- dustry, particularly in R&D at the CRC.
Over a long career I’ve seen quite a few ups and downs, but few harder than what some are ex- periencing at the moment.
The industry has changed markedly since I became involved as a researcher in 1973 and while I keep harping about improving productivity and competitiveness, the progress has been quite spectacular and our top producers are world class and as innovative as any in the world.
The best production mangers I have met over my time are all Austral- ian.
Naming piglets
When I started with
IDEAL needle & syringe range
Bunge in 1988, litter size was so small we named most of the piglets, car- cass weight was 60-65kg and the pigs were even then too fat for the market.
HFC was above 5 but feed was cheap.
Now litter size is around 14, carcass weight just above 75kg, the pigs are so very lean and HFC is nearing 3.5, but feed is damn expensive.
Some things never change: the market still demands pigs with very low P2 and plenty of mon- ey remains on the table for manipulating feed effi- ciency and carcass fatness and enhancing the rate of genetic gain in both traits and in things such as resil- ience and survival.
All are priorities for APRIL and challenges for our researchers.
History suggests they can do it.
The industry always has and continues to be supported by excellent re- search programs and sci- entists through APL and
more recently Pork CRC. Both organisations have trained the next genera- tion of scientists over the
past 10-15 years.
APRIL continues to do
Having a lower (and
ideally low) cost of pro- duction will provide tre- mendous flexibility and opportunity domestically and globally and I think it’s a prerequisite for what lies ahead.
Tender times
However, the quality and provenance of the product will also influence con- sumer and community choices.
We need to build on the wonderful work by Pork CRC and Australian Pork Limited on eating quality and supply product that can be guaranteed tender and tasty.
We have made tremen- dous strides in the area, with the greatest improve- ments associated with processing interventions and innovations, packag- ing and, of course, how
pork is cooked (think 6-2- 2).
Never forget that Aus- tralian scientists lead the world in pig welfare re- search.
Their input and yours into transitioning from stalls to group housing of gestating sows has had major positive impacts on the perception of Austral- ian production globally and on price.
The latter has faded over time and we need to ask what might be next. Welfare state
Globally, the issue is reducing antibiotic use and is certainly an op- portunity to differentiate Australian pork, albeit we may be starting a little be- hind other countries and way behind poultry.
Welfare will always be top of mind for animal welfare groups and retail- ers and APRIL research is now heading more to- wards assessing the ani- mal’s affective state and wellbeing than behaviour per se and there’s already some interesting out- comes.
We have results showing that brain and physiologi- cal indicators of affective state are altered in situa- tions where the animal’s behaviour was largely un- affected.
Future proofed
It has been a pleasure working with you all and I feel very confident about
☛ continued P4
Pork CRC CEO Dr Roger Campbell is retiring from the role, but he’s far from retir- ing when presenting R&D findings. Incredibly inspirational, very often humorous and always loud and clear, he is, arguably, the best presenter because his style is simply irresistible, backed up by strong science and credibility.
Dr Roger Campbell has been front and centre of pork R&D in Australia for dec- ades. His contribution has been outstanding, especially since 2005 when he was appointed Pork CRC CEO. He is widely acclaimed by his peers nationally and internationally. He is pictured here at APSA 2017, as always questioning and con- tributing. He retires as Pork CRC CEO on July 15.
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