SA pork producers can expect to see innovative feed and disease research projects continue with vigor, despite major changes to the pork research sector in recent times.
Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited chief executive officer John Pluske has committed to ensuring the sustainability of Australasian pork production, following the wind-up of the Port Cooperative Research Centre in June.
The future of APRIL's investment into research, education and training, and commercialisation will be centred around four major streams - transformational, priority, innovation and commercialisation projects.
Dr Pluske said transformational projects would initially focus on the reduction of in-feed medications without adverse health consequences and eliminating the need for tail-docking in Australasian pork production systems.
"If suitably addressed and solved, these projects have potential for enormous change in the industry," he said.
Priority projects will zero in on industry concerns and aid the development of remote, real-time monitoring and surveillance in piggeries for feed waste and use, disease, growth, and greater use of food wastes.
"It will help reduce variation in overall performance of pigs," Dr Pluske said.
Innovation and commercialisation projects that started in Pork CRC will also continue under APRIL.
APRIL commercialisation and research impact manager Charles Rikard-Bell said key pillars of APRIL's activities in this space were aimed at generating new and novel ideas for potential application in the industry.
"It will also continue to raise additional revenue for APRIL through current and future commercial arrangements with partners," he said.
Commercialisation activities for APRIL include AusScan, a joint venture between APRIL and Aunir, United Kingdom, providing near infrared calibrations for determining pig digestible energy values for cereal grains.
Dr Rikard-Bell said a NIR machine scanned a sample of grain and could accurately determine in vivo energy values for pigs, poultry and ruminants instantaneously.
"Feed is the biggest cost of production and cereal grains provide up to 70 per cent of the diet," he said.
"Using AusScan in vivo energy calibrations, nutritionists can formulate diets with greater accuracy and reduce unnecessary costs."
AusScan also includes a calibration for reactive lysine in soybean and canola meals which are by-products used in pig diets.
"Lysine is the most limiting amino acid in pig production and so formulating diets to the correct levels allows optimum growth," Dr Rikard-Bell said.
"Reactive lysine is a measure of the amount of lysine available to the animal and due to processing methods, soybean meal and canola meal can vary substantially in the amount of reactive lysine," he said.
"Knowing the level of this in these by-products allows nutritionists to accurately formulate pig diets and reduce unnecessary costs."
APRIL will also continue to invest in education and training, including undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships that enable students to be involved in priority research, as well as the support of the Industry Placement Program that provides learning opportunities for people who want to participate in the pork industry.
Dr Pluske said APRIL invested $1.4 million into its first portion of funding earlier this year.
"A range of projects focusing on resilience, cost, and the return on assets for both progeny and the breeding herd were funded," he said.
"Most recent projects address industry issues such as antimicrobial resistance, gut health, pain and welfare, seasonal infertility and feed efficiency."
Recently, APRIL also called for innovation and commercialisation project proposal applications and investments in the transformational and industry priority projects are planned for 2020.
"We are looking to invest another $400,000 into these initiatives and outcomes of successful projects will be announced soon," Dr Pluske said.
"Whilst maintaining operational independence, APRIL will work with key stakeholders including Australian Pork Limited to ensure delivery of these outcomes is efficient and effective," he said.