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Strengthening R&I’s focus on producer engagement
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Pig Industry Calendar of Events
JAN 3 - 5 – Oxford Farming Conference, Oxford, UK
JAN 9 - 11 – Banff Pork Seminar, Banff, Canada
JAN 10 - 11 – South Dakota Pork Congress, South Dakota US www.
JAN 29 - FEB 9 – Science and Practice of Pig Production course, Roseworthy, South Australia E: or
FEB 7 - 8 – Manitoba Swine Seminar, Winnipeg, Canada www.
MAR 3 - 6 – Annual Meeting of the American Association of Swine, San Diego, California, US annmtg
MAR 21 – World Butchers’ Challenge, Belfast, Ireland events/1038188022980633
MAY 30 - 31 – Pan Pacific Pork Expo (PPPE), Gold Coast, Queensland www.
JUN 20 - 22 – VIV Europe 2018, Utrecht, The Netherlands en/Bezoeker.aspx
OCT 17 - 19 – Vietstock Expo & Forum, Saigon, Vietnam www.vietstock.
How to supply event details: Send all details to Australian Pork Newspaper, PO Box 387, Cleveland, Qld 4163, call 07 3286 1833 fax: 07 3821 2637, email:
07 3286 1833
THE commissioning of research projects by the R&I team, following ap- proval through our R&D processes, is relatively straightforward.
Ensuring producers are aware of the outputs gen- erated from these complet- ed projects and that these outputs are presented with enough information so the new technologies can be implemented on farm is more challenging.
Fortnightly R&I Snap- shots in the Australian Pork Limited Commu- nique is one avenue we use to communicate these outcomes; the quarterly ‘Pigs to Pork’ newsletter is another.
However, other methods are needed to assist with getting our research find- ings out.
The loss of extension services by the major- ity of state governments over the past 10 years has meant APL increasingly needs to take on more of this role, and alternative ways of delivering our information to producers are required.
In response to this, a number of changes have recently been made in the Research and Innovation Division to strengthen both our engagement and ability to deliver our re- search outcomes to pro- ducers.
Dr Pat Mitchell is taking on a new role as Manager, Production Engagement and will be supported by both Dr Lechelle van Breda who will manage RD&E projects within the Biosecurity portfo- lio as Manager, Produc- tion Stewardship and Dr Rebecca Athorn, who is responsible for the man- agement of APL’s Produc- tion and Welfare RD&E projects.
APL is also currently fi- nalising plans to continue the industry’s benchmark- ing project following its handover from the Pork CRC.
Industry consultations are being led by Pat Mitchell and further de- tails about this will be provided shortly – we are looking to build upon the Pork CRC’s legacy and generate further producer engagement in bench- marking.
Other ways that key find- ings from industry-funded R&D projects are dis- seminated is through the biennial conference of the Australasian Pig Science Association as well as the Pan Pacific Pork Expo.
The 30th APSA Con- ference was held in Mel- bourne from November 19-22 and was attended by 320 delegates from 19 dif- ferent countries and once again provided a wonder- ful opportunity for our researchers, postgraduate and honours students, in- dustry placement program awardees, producers, vet- erinarians and company representatives to learn and discuss key issues af- fecting our industry.
Reviews and symposia presented at the confer- ence ranged from sea-
sonal infertility to meet- ing consumer demand for pork and pork products, genetic improvement in a closed herd, advanced assessment of animal wel- fare, antimicrobial resist- ance and guaranteeing the eating quality of pork.
Further to new roles in R&I, I’m very happy to announce Denise Woods, our new Manager, Envi- ronment will commence with APL in early Janu- ary 2018 and we look for- ward to welcoming her on board at APL.
Unfortunately, the R&I team will be bidding farewell to Steven Miller, APIQP Operations man- ager in mid-December as he takes on new opportu- nities with the Sheepmeat Council of Australia.
Steven has played a ma- jor role in working to en- sure that issues surround- ing the impending move to third-party auditing by AUS-MEAT for APIQP have been addressed to industry’s benefit.
I’m sure you’ll join me in thanking Steve for his contributions over the past eight and a half years with APL and wishing him all the very best for his fu- ture.
As many of you would already know, Ashley Norval has now returned to APL following her six- month, self-funded stint in Denmark where she gained valuable insights from her work experience in the Danish pork in- dustry, which she is now sharing with us.
Ashley made a very in- teresting presentation at APL’s Annual Confer- ence in Melbourne sev- eral weeks ago, outlining a number of key technol- ogies and management tips that also have appli- cations in the Australian pork industry.
Many of the technol- ogies and management tips presented were also discussed in a previous APN article.
These include ideas for welfare aids such as shoulder pads, enrichment and precision farming technologies to best-prac- tice management of the prolific sow.
I strongly encourage you to contact Ashley to dis- cuss these.
While in Denmark, Ashley attended the Joint Danish Centre for Animal Welfare and Nordic Net- work for Communicating Animal Welfare Confer- ence held at the University of Copenhagen in Octo- ber.
This conference was at- tended by people from many backgrounds and
occupations, including researchers, university representatives/academic staff, students, journalists, animal activists, producers, processors and the police.
Though the conference was not widely publicised internationally, delegates from many European (and some Asian) countries at- tended.
The focus of this multi- species conference was on the pig, mink and dairy industries because these sectors are making the greatest investments, and gains, in this area.
Outcomes of animal welfare research con- ducted to understand the drivers of improvement to animal welfare through to extending basic know- ledge to benefit animals, producers and consumers were presented.
This research area is ‘young’ – we don’t have all the answers when it comes to the assessment of animal welfare – be it on farm, during transport or pre-slaughter.
The Australian pork industry strives to con- tinuously improve animal welfare, and developed practical measures to benchmark pig welfare a few years ago.
The implementation of welfare benchmark- ing measures by produc- ers can lead to improved animal welfare outcomes and allow issues to be addressed as they arise rather than be left to de- teriorate.
Welfare benchmarking
uses a set of scientifically validated indicators to de- termine the welfare state of pigs across a range of production systems.
Animal-based measures such as lesion incidence, lameness and tail biting are particularly useful because they evaluate the pigs’ wel- fare outcome rather than their housing conditions, husbandry and so on.
This helps negate the perceived welfare benefits of, for example, free range farms versus conventional shed systems, and focuses on the real welfare of the pig rather than resource- based measures (such as pen size, presence of bed- ding and water quality).
Animal-based measures also give an indication of animal behaviour as well as disease or injuries.
However, training is needed for assessors.
The Australian pig in- dustry is a world leader in this space and APL is very interested in con- tinuing to work with pro- ducers to demonstrate the value of on-farm welfare benchmarking.
If you would like more information on this and/ or are keen to be involved, please contact either me or Pat Mitchell.
Interestingly, on-farm welfare assessment pro- tocols have been imple- mented for mink and foxes in Denmark (see continue=2&v=1C5vGJZ an2o).
WelFur is considered to be the first example of a full-scale implementation of a science-based welfare assessment by mink and fox farmers.
The protocols and aggre- gation models are based on Welfare Quality, with four principles and 12 criteria of animal welfare.
The assessment includes 22 welfare indicators to be measured on farm in three different annual seasons of mink production.
Each farm is classified
as either ‘Best’, ‘Good’, ‘Acceptable’ or ‘Unaccep- table’ current practice.
To ensure a correct as- sessment, all WelFur as- sessors have to complete a 40-hour WelFur training course, a test and follow- up training before each of the three annual seasons.
A tool for taking unbiased and representative samples on a mink farm, and an application for on-farm reg- istration of the assessment and exporting the results have been developed.
In order to secure trans- parency and ensure farm- ers understand the animal welfare concepts applied, all assessment results are reported back to the farm- er after each assessment.
In order to make sure farmers can react and im- prove the welfare of the animals, advisors from each country have been taught how to interpret the WelFur results and how to help farmers improve housing or management when needed.
Since January 2017, more than 80 percent of fur farmers have voluntar- ily signed up to WelFur assessments.
Their willingness to par- ticipate in the certification program underlines that animal welfare is central to European fur farmers and is a vital part of the sustainable development of the entire fur sector.
By 2020, only skins from WelFur-certified farms will be sold by the European auction houses.
As the festive season is once again upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy and safe Christmas and all the best for 2018 – it has been a very chal- lenging year for us all.
For further informa- tion on any of the topics discussed, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0423 056 045 or heather. channon@australianpork.
All roads lead to Melbourne for the Delegates’ Forum
☛ from P1
Our measurements
of retail sales growth month by month show roughly 10 percent in- creases for the past few periods and assuming the rest of the pork out- lets are stable in vol- ume, this would seem to be getting close to covering the increasing supply.
Hopefully we are get- ting closer to a busi- ness environment that will be conducive to increasing pig demand and prices.
There was an inter- esting discussion at the Delegates’ Forum around the role of APL and what things we should be involved in and what things we shouldn’t be involved in.
This was stimulated
by looking back over the past 12 months or so and the price prob- lems that the industry has had and what APL has done to lessen the problems or make them worse.
The general con- sensus was it is not A PL’s role to advise pig producers on what business decisions they should be taking; rath- er A PL should provide as much, as accurate and as timely infor- mation as possible to our producers so they can make the most ap- propriate decisions for their business.
Perceptions of what information looks like and what advice looks like varies and this means we at APL have to be very careful in
how we communicate information to industry. The point was also
made, and agreed I be- lieve, that on behalf of the industry, APL has to continue to be bold; to challenge us all to think a bit differently and be prepared to look at a future quite a bit different to how things look today.
The leadership posi- tion the pork industry has today won’t be sus- tained by doing things the same tomorrow.
Christmas is nearly upon us once again, and on behalf of all your APL team, I wish you a merry festive season with lots of fun times with family and friends.
May 2018 bring the start of a turnaround in ourfortunes.
Page 2 – Australian Pork Newspaper, December 2017
by HEATHER CHANNON Acting Research and Innovation General Manager
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