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Pork CRC Outline Views on Declining Feed Efficiency in Pigs

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Pork CRC  challenged the forum held at the annual industry dinner hosted by WAPPA President. A vigorous debate, mainly centred on feeding for profit, highlighted a dynamic and productive series of meetings and forums held by WA Pork Producers’ Association (WAPPA) last Friday as part of its annual industry day, which encompasses an annual general meeting and forum. 

Commenting at the annual industry dinner, attended by 140 people and which concluded 15 hours of discussion, debate and information exchange, retiring WAPPA President and Cuballing producer, Graeme Dent said WAPPA’s emphasis was now more on results and less on process and procedure. The input from members, the executive has adopted a ‘no holds barred’ approach to tackle the issues that matter most to producers. Graeme further related that WAPPA will solicit the services and views of the best people to satisfy their needs and aspirations. 

One such person challenged during Friday’s forum was Pork CRC CEO, Dr Roger Campbell, who was asked to outline what the Pork CRC, part funded by WA pork producers through fee for service contributions to the Agricultural Produce Commission, had achieved during its first three years. Dr Campbell responded that producer margins could improve by as much as 25 cents/kg carcass weight, courtesy of outcomes from Pork CRC projects across its three programmes. 

Dr Campbell added that over the last month, Pork CRC had reviewed all programmes to ensure producers continue to receive value for money and that future investments will give producers the good returns. Dr Campbell further added that from weaning to marketing, the greatest project returns had been in the finishing pig, in particular by lifting performance in its last four weeks. 

Dr Campbell explained that several research projects had showed that pigs can use as much as 40 per cent of the total feed used between weaning and marketing at 100-110kg. Campbell reiterated that pig problem relates to declining feed efficiency caused by increased feed costs. Campbell concluded that while the problem can be exacerbated by stresses such as temperature, the improvement window is large; simply because a 10 per cent improvement in feed efficiency during this period can improve total herd feed conversion by three to four per cent. 

Graeme Dent said the focus of research and extension simply had to be at the production point where a difference could be made, as suggested by Dr Campbell. Graeme Dent added that as price takers, pork producers can influence their bottom lines by reducing their costs, while still comprising three quarters of the input costs.

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