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Pork producers to benefit from comprehensive research by the Pork CRC

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Australia’s pork industry is finally enjoying better times with rising pig prices, falling grain prices and a return to profitability, a situation enhanced by important research from the Pork CRC (the Pork Cooperative Research Centre).

The CEO of Pork CRC, Dr Roger Campbell, said their work had gone a long way to reducing the industry’s costs, improving efficiency and making Australia’s pork industry more internationally competitive.

“In marked contrast to the rest of the world, where prices have remained low because of the global economic downturn and possibly consumer concerns about the H1N1 virus, Australia’s pork industry is looking forward to better times,” Dr Campbell said.

"However there's no room for complacency and the Pork CRC will continue looking to the future with a research program that focuses on reducing costs and improving pork's attributes and consumer appeal," he said. 

Next year pork producers will profit from Pork CRC research on new cultivars of triticale (Berkshire), field peas (Maki) and barley (Shepherd), which will enter commercial production. These new varieties of pig feed grain will offer higher yields and Berkshire offers higher digestible energy (DE) than other triticales.

Further Pork CRC triticale and pea breeding projects will be carried out in 2010, producing better varieties of pig feed for pork producers yet again.

“New projects have been commissioned in both grains to ensure a pipeline of grains will be available to Australian growers and pork producers during the next three to five years,” Dr Campbell said.

With the help of new technology developed by the Pork CRC as AusScan, Near Infrared Spectrometry (NIRS) calibrations are used to determine the digestible energy and other nutrient contents of grains. This technology aims to revolutionise the accuracy and cost effectiveness of diet formulation and allow grains to be more accurately valued for animal industries.

In addition to these dietary advancements, 2010 will also see pork producers benefiting from the release of APP Alive, the intranasal vaccine against Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP). This vaccine is easily administered and is expected to improve profitability for growers by $8 to $15 per pig.

On another level, Pork CRC researchers continue to demonstrate that strategic use of Paylean and Porcine Somatotropin (pST) distinctly improves feed efficiency, increases carcass weight and reduces P2 in the last three to four weeks of growth. More recent results suggest Paylean improves the efficiency of amino acid use.

The strategies tested have already delivered increases in profit ranging from $5.10 to $7.50 per pig to Australian pork producers.

It is important to note alongside this research for the benefit of pork producers, that the Pork CRC are also working on enhancing the nutritional attributes of pork to benefit consumers. 

The Pork CRC's research has demonstrated that Selenium enriched pork can reduce the incidence of colon cancer in a rodent model, a finding with promising implications for human health.

Other research has shown that type two diabetics on a pork based diet and exercise program had greater weight loss than those on a carbohydrate diet and the same exercise program.

These findings demonstrate the health advantages of the low energy: protein ratio of pork and the high thiamine level of Australian pork. In addition to this, results from projects investigating the effects of pork on the iron status and well being of young women and on cardio-vascular health will be available in 2009-2010.

Pork CRC have been running a program of seminars and refresher courses for industry practitioners, along with presentations from international experts, to keep them informed of the research and its subsequent advances in pig health and growth.

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