A $1 million upgrade and expansion to the SA Artificial Breeding Centre was unveiled to SA producers at Clare last Friday and industry hopes it will futureproof the states commercial herd.
The expansion will increase the proportion of sows serviced at the artificial insemination facility from 65 per cent to 90 per cent, and significantly boost the number of customers interstate.
SABOR chair and SA pig veterinarian Barry Lloyd said the project will underpin SA's commercial herd by enhancing biosecurity and capacity to respond to the escalating risk of diseases such as African Swine Fever entering a key industry facility.
"ASF continues to spread internationally, affecting Australia's neighbours Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea," he said.
"The virus has almost decimated the Chinese pig industry and if introduced to Australia could have a substantial impact on the pork industry."
If ASF was to enter SA and the facility, there would be no access to semen, which would be detrimental to all producers, according to industry representatives.
"This work will help secure the supply for SA SABOR customers as well as our interstate piggery operators. It means we are self-sufficient in the face of any future border restrictions and means we can continue to operate safely," Mr Lloyd said.
"The upgrades to biosecurity will reduce contact between animals or objects which could spread disease and will enable compartments of the facility to be locked down in the event of disease incursion," he said.
"While SABOR already has established biosecurity and quarantine procedures, the ability to further compartmentalise the facility allows us to more quickly isolate disease and stop any spread."
Further upgrades such as increased disease testing of animals, improved showering and transport washdown facilities, double fencing to reduce pests on the property and enhanced biosecurity procedures for each compartment of the facility will also improve the chance of containing and preventing diseases from impacting the industry.
SABOR received a $440,000 grant from the SA Government's Regional Growth Fund and a loan from Pork SA to progress the expansion.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regions David Basham said SABOR had been a clear contender to receive an allocation from the Regional Growth Fund because the project protects the productivity of the SA pig industry and enhances a facility critical to its success.
"Biosecurity is critical to prevent, respond to and recover from pests and diseases which threaten the economy and environment," he said.
"The upgrades to the SABOR facility will ensure the SA pork industry is resilient and self-sufficient to support pig producers to maintain the production of food and ensure continued market access."
SABOR has worked closely with Chief Veterinary Officer Mary Carr, who is the responsible authority during an Emergency Animal Disease Response, to ensure all upgrades implemented will mitigate key risks and facilitate movement of animals and products in the event of a response.
Pork SA Chair Andrew Johnson said this funding was important to support the SA pig industry to prepare for future risks and safeguard key genetics.
"Protecting SABOR as a key industry facility is vital. This project enables the business to continue to operate safely, supplying quality genetics to the majority of the industry, which ultimately protects jobs throughout the supply chain, and contributes to protecting our food supply," he said.
"It will also enable outside investment into the facility, which is a major benefit to the SA industry and our producers."
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