Pig Day was a big day


About 100 people attended this year’s Pig Day Out, hosted by the WA Pork Producers’ Association and the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, at Technology Park, Bentley.

ACE Livestock Consulting animal nutritionist Tony Edwards set the scene by revealing how the past 30 years of research has benefited pork producers.

He said average daily weight gain had risen from 450g in the 1970s to 700g today, that piglets produced per sow per year had increased from 16 to 24 in the same period and weights of meat produced per sow per year had grown from 960kg to 1800kg.

“However, we need to constantly improve to remain competitive and the main driver of improvements will be scientific research. There is still much more to uncover and we are currently well short of the biological potential of the pig,” he said.

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Pork CRC chief executive Roger Campbell told attendees the Australian industry was one of the most profitable and vibrant in the world.

“I expect growth based on longer-term contracts, which will reflect demand for high-integrity Australian pork and I also think there’s still plenty of money on the table for Australian pork producers if they can work on improving reproduction, carcass weights, feed efficiency and product differentiation,” he said.

Global trends included the use of post-cervical artificial insemination and set-time AI, fatty acids in lactation, tryptophan levels in lactation diets and large pellets in creep and weaner feeds.

Other speakers in the morning session included DAFWA trio Dr Jae Kim on dietary use of tryptophan and methionine, Dr Megan Trezona on outdoor pig production and Karen Moore on feeds to control fat deposition after a second dose of Improvac.

The afternoon session began with biosecurity training for producers and transporters with veterinarian Kim Nairn of Portec Veterinary Services.

Dr Nairn said pig manure posed the greatest disease risk and transporters, producers and processors needed to be vigilant in ensuring faecal matter was not transferred.

His message to producers was to check their biosecurity measures.

Australian Pork Limited’s Darryl D’Souza sparked debate when he updated the meeting on the Australian Pork Industry Quality Program and APL’s gestation stall-free program.

Dr D’Souza said APL’s aim was to keep regulators onside and defend its stance on farrowing crates and fresh pork imports.

In the final session, Murdoch University presenters were Professor John Pluske, on suppressing voluntary feed intake of finisher pigs; Jeremy Ayre, on microalgae to treat piggery anaerobic digestion effluent; Samantha Sterndale, on reducing stress through nutrition to improve pig growth; and Ingunn Stensland, on supplements to improve intestinal health in E.coli-infected weaners.

Dr Nairn returned to close the day, reflecting on how his Peel Pork piggery survived the devastating January Yarloop bushfire.

Pig Day Out sponsors were Pork CRC, APL, MSD Animal health and Elanco.

WAPPA president Dawson Bradford commended WA producers and researchers on collaborating for the benefit of the industry and how this needed to continue as the onus of R&D increasingly moved on to industry.

Rob Wilson updated developments on Pork Innovation WA, an incorporated association expected to attract initial transition funding from DAFWA.

PIWA has been awarded a grower group R&D grant of $375,000, which will be administered by DAFWA and cover all aspects of free-range pork production in WA.

Dr Wilson said Pork CRC had awarded an honours project, through Murdoch University, to be associated with the free-range work.

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