Australian Pork Newspaper
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Phone: 07 4697 3344 • Fax 07 4697 3532
Vol 22. No. 12 December 2018 Australian Pork Newspaper PO Box 387 Cleveland 4163 Phone (07) 3286 1833 Fax (07) 3821 2637 Email
The Pork CRC Annual Report 2017- 2018 is now available.
Photos from Pork CRC/ APRIL Stakeholders’ Day P19 ☛
Looking to the future, Dr Roger Campbell says Australia’s pork industry will emerge from its current challenging situa- tion stronger and more resilient.
WE recently saw the gath- ering of industry repre- sentatives in Melbourne for the Delegates’ Forum and annual general meeting of Australian Pork Limited.
After some consideration by the APL Board and man- agement, especially with the difficult industry conditions and the ongoing attempts to improve engagement with certain segments of industry, we had higher numbers than normal of smaller producers invited to the Forum to give them a greater opportunity to describe how that particular segment of the industry is travelling.
The end result was 36 del- egates or their representatives in the room, which was bal- anced with about 20 smaller or younger producers repre- senting parts of the indus- try that don’t normally get a strong voice at the Forum.
The Forum agenda first dealt with what we believe were the three key issues affecting the industry right now.
These were the ongoing low pig prices, the rapidly accel- erating and very high grain prices representing a huge in- crease in the cost of produc- tion for pigs, and third, the threat of African swine fever outbreaks in China and West- ern Europe and what these might mean to our industry in Australia.
Pig prices – as I pointed out last month – are show- ing signs of improvement and some producers are getting what could be considered relatively high prices at the moment compared to what we’ve been used to over the past couple of years.
Anecdotally, the room be- lieved pig numbers are rela- tively tight and the environ- ment does exist for ongoing increases in prices.
Supply predictions driven by results of our production survey presently in develop- ment suggest the numbers of pigs going to slaughter are moderating, breeding sow numbers in the industry are slowly reducing as sow slaughter numbers remain
Point of View
relatively high and further reductions in months to come will continue to moderate pig slaughter numbers through to the middle of next year.
We had a very interest- ing external speaker – Liam Marshall from GrainCorp – who outlined how grain stocks differ across the coun- try and how demand will be met through shifting grain around by either ship or rail from states with relative surpluses, which includes Western Australia and South Australia.
There is a lot of attention presently on the weather in northern NSW and Queens- land where there has been a significant area of sorghum planted but a harvest won’t be secured until further rain- falls in that area, which could present a moderating impact on prices.
There is no expectation, however, grain prices will reduce to levels seen sev- eral years ago in the $200 per tonne range.
More likely they will sit in the $300 range at best, which is still lower than where they are now.
ASF continues to spread across China, now being found in larger piggeries and also having recently been found in the wild boar popu- lation there.
We had Tim Chapman from the Department of Agricul- ture and Water Resources talk to the Forum about the government’s position on minimising the risk of an ASF outbreak in Australia and the activities the govern-
ment is undertaking to ensure that risk remains as low as possible.
Teleconferences have been held or are being organised across the country to inform industry participants and other stakeholders about the threat, what the Department is doing and what APL has been doing to try to ensure we don’t get this disease in Australia.
There was an interesting session at the Forum about the challenges we will face coming out of the pig profit- ability crisis, given we see pig prices on the improve at present.
There is very general agree- ment that APL should focus on improving the quality and timeliness of information be- ing provided to industry so the business decisions made on farms are of the highest quality they can possibly be.
There was some scepticism in the room, however, that no matter what APL does, we will always be subject to market forces and there will always be the risk in future of another rollercoaster ride through the highs and lows of the pig cycle.
One of the best things we can do for producers perhaps is to continually remind them of history.
That is, we have been through this cycle several times over the past couple of decades and it seems to occur on a relatively regular basis.
The messages we’re hear- ing at APL are, first, we need
☛ continued P2
Positive Pork CRC outcomes outlined
ROGER Campbell, in his final annual report as Pork CRC CEO, highlighted posi- tive R&D outcomes, includ- ing measuring and enhancing contentment of sows housed in conventional farrowing systems, global interest in a swine dysentery vaccine developed by Murdoch Uni- versity, research at SARDI that developed an eating quality model for Australian pork and enhanced AusScan calibrations for grains and protein meals.
In Program 1 (Reduced Con- finement of Sows and Piglets), researchers at Melbourne Uni- versity, SARDI, SunPork and Rivalea showed enrichment with straw or lucerne two days before farrowing significantly reduced still birth rate and in one study lucerne chaff of- fered throughout lactation also improved colostrum intake and pre-weaning performance.
Based on differences in an- ticipatory behaviour between treatments, it also seemed that straw/hay before farrowing im- proved the affective state of sows, but not gilts.
“This major new piece of research certainly warrants follow-up,” Dr Campbell said.
Other researchers from Mel- bourne University and Rivalea demonstrated that the Ridley Enrichment Block had similar effects as straw or hay on be- haviour of gestating sows.
Acknowledging that antibiot- ic use and resistance remained one of the biggest issues glob-
ally in animal agriculture and in intensive industries particu- larly, Dr Campbell said Pork CRC’s Program 2 (Herd Health Management) had made sig- nificant progress.
Dr Sam Abraham from Mur- doch University provided new information on the pathogenic- ity of strep suis in the Aus- tralian industry, while Narelle Sales from NSW DPI did sim- ilar for erysipelothrix rhusi- opathiae.
Dr Tom La and his team at Murdoch continued their ex- cellent work on swine dysen- tery and one of the brachyspira strains discovered by the team is now being tested as a poten- tial vaccine candidate in the US.
In Program 3 (Healthy Pork Consumption), Dr Jessica Jol- ley and her team at SARDI used all the eating quality re- search supported by Pork CRC to develop an eating qual- ity predictive model similar to MSA used by the red meat industry.
The model comes up with a Pork Quality Score, based on a combination of eight factors at cooking temperatures of 70 or 75C (gender, cut, cooking method, ageing time, ultimate pH, moisture infusion, hanging method and electrical stimula- tion).
Dr Campbell believed the model could revolutionise the marketing and eating quality of Australian pork.
In Program 4 (Carbon Con- scious Nutrient Inputs and Out-
puts), an LCA assessment by Dr Stephen Wiedemann pre- dicted greenhouse gas emis- sions of the Australian pork industry would fall from 3.6kg (in 2010) to near 1.3kg of CO2 equivalents by 2020-21.
“This was due to uptake of biogas capture and use from effluent and rising productiv- ity by the herds and businesses that will represent the indus- try,” Dr Campbell said.
Pork CRC supported re- searchers also upgraded the AusScan pig energy and amino acid calibrations in the 2017/18 reporting period.
They included 67 new grains in the energy calibrations and demonstrated the calibration for predicting faecal DE is ex- tremely accurate.
This unique technology con- tinued to be strengthened and the calibrations were now ap- propriate for maize and over- seas grains.
Dr Campbell was optimistic about the future of Australia’s pork industry, which he felt would emerge from its current challenging situation stronger and more resilient.
“And it will need to be, as globally things are getting tougher and this is unlikely to change,” he said.
Pork CRC concludes June 30, 2019, with much of its good work and legacy to be contin- ued by the industry supported Australasian Pork Research In- stitute Limited.
Mixing in Melbourne – the big and the small
• Nipple drinkers
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• Water connection units • Medicators
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Clifton QLD 4361
07 4697 3344

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