Progress on Australian pork projects

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

One project developed a performance enhancer pre-mix for weaned pigs
One project developed a performance enhancer pre-mix for weaned pigs

Related tags Pork crc Pig Better Livestock Pork

Australian projects to improve pig nutrition, enhance weaner performance and increase reproduction and enrich the lives of group housed sows are at various stages of development and commercialisation. 

According to the Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork’s (Pork CRC’s) Dr Charles Rikard-Bell, pork CRC manager, commercialisation and research impact, the projects range from proof of concept to ready for adoption.

Rikard-Bell said the four key projects nearing commercial reality were AusScan Online, a performance enhancer for weaned pigs, patents on improving reproduction and poured blocks to enrich group housed pigs.

Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell said all four were well advanced and poised to make a positive impact on Australia’s pork industry.

Commercially viable

Campbell said close working relationships, built on trust and mutual benefits, with Aunir, University of Queensland, Elanco and Ridley, had helped turn well thought out, cleverly researched ideas and concepts into commercially viable propositions. 

Pork CRC research developed AusScan the world’s first in-vivo energy values for cereal grains and reactive lysine values for ‘heat damaged’ canola and soybean meal using near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).

Pork CRC ​now has a business agreement with UK company Aunir to make AusScan NIRS calibrations available on-line. 

Campbell said Pork CRC was working with Aunir, pork producers, laboratories and feed mills to ensure Australia’s pig industry had access to the latest calibrations.

Performance enhancer

In conjunction with BEC Animal Nutrition, Dr Eugeni Roura from University of Queensland and Pork CRC developed a performance enhancer pre-mix for weaned pigs. 

“This novel pre-mix is based on the outcome of some excellent science on ingredient preferences of weaned pigs,”​ Campbell said. 

Pork CRC holds patents on improving reproduction via research it supported by Dr William Van Wettere, University of Adelaide, who showed that adding ractopamine to sow lactation diets minimised sow body protein loss. 

“The commercial product, produced by Elanco and marketed as Paylean, supports improved subsequent reproduction,”​ said Campbell. “Executing the patents will allow Australian pork producers to access this potentially valuable technology.” ​ 

Major consideration

With enrichment of gestating sows a major consideration for the industry, Ridley Mills and Pork CRC have begun commercial studies on the behaviour of sows at mixing.

“Early Pork CRC supported work at SunPork Farms North in Queensland by Tracey Muller showed that providing poured blocks reduced chase time and increased lying time in the first four days after mixing,”​ said Campbell. 

“As Pork CRC moves deeper into its second half, we are running a commercial eye over any potential game changers and this is where Charles Rikard-Bell will focus his time.”

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