APRIL Newsletter

Education and Training Awards: July 2020

APRIL is pleased to advise that Lauren Staveley (Wasleys Piggery Pty Ltd T/A SunPork Farms South) has been awarded an Industry Placement Program (IPP) award, commencing 1 July 2020, for a 3-year period. Lauren completed a Bachelor of Science (Animal Science) with Honours at The University of Adelaide, and is now nearing the end of her PhD thesis, Conception to culling – effective management of the gilt to optimise reproduction and longevity, also through The University of Adelaide. Lauren commenced employment as a Management Trainee at SunPork Farms South in 2018.

APRIL wishes Lauren all the best for her Award.

APRIL circulated a call in May for applications to support its education program to assist further in building human capacity for the pork industry, specifically support for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)/undergraduate Veterinary Science projects and scholarship Awards for Honours students enrolling mid-year. Disappointingly, no applications were received for these awards. Another call for APRIL Education awards will be made towards the end of the year.

APRIL will soon be seeking applications for another Industry Placement Program (IPP) award to commence later in 2020. Further details will be disseminated at the time. 

Research Snapshot: Development of a ‘healthy pork’ resource for use by consumers, health professionals and regulatory bodies: summary and dissemination of Pork CRC human nutrition research

APRIL has received a Final Report for project 3B-114, Development of a ‘healthy pork’ resource for use by consumers, health professionals and regulatory bodies: summary and dissemination of Pork CRC human nutrition research, by Dr Karen Murphy at the University of South Australia. This was a project supported initially through the Pork CRC but contracted through APRIL. The Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork funded 16 projects under the ‘Healthy Pork Consumption’ program from 2005 to 2019, with the aims to explore potential health benefits of pork and drivers and barriers to consumption. The main summary points highlighted by Dr Murphy are as follows:

  1. Fresh lean pork is a core food item of the meat, fish, poultry, nuts and legumes group (Australian Guide to Healthy Eating & Mediterranean Dietary Pattern).
  2. A 65 g serve of fresh lean pork provides 15 g of protein, 1 mg thiamine, 0.6 mg iron, 1.1 mg zinc.
  3. Fresh lean pork is rich in essential amino acids (leucine and isoleucine) for building muscle for body strength and functional capacity in the elderly.
  4. Fresh lean pork contains key nutrients important for growth and development.
  5. Fresh lean pork can be included as part of a healthy dietary pattern for weight loss, diabetes and blood pressure management, mood, vitality, quality of life, quality of sleep and general health.
  6. Fresh lean pork can be included as part of a predominantly plant-based diet like the Mediterranean diet, which may preserve cognitive function.
  7. When cooked appropriately, fresh pork is juicy and tender and provides excellent overall eating experience.
  8. 37% of Australian adults eat pork. Of those individuals, less than a quarter (21%) ate fresh pork.
  9. 51% of Australian children eat pork. Of those children, only 14% ate fresh pork, hence there is room for improvement.

Taken together, this research identified specific population groups which required further education on fresh pork:

  • Parents – family recipes, cooking tips, convenient packaging, meal planning guides and kid friendly recipes;
  • Low pork consumers;
  • Non-Asian consumers – more Western-like dishes conforming with plant-based dietary recommendations.

The Final Report has been circulated to Australian Pork Limited and the New Zealand Pork Industry Board.

Commercialisation Update: July 2020

A diagnostic test for Lawsonia intracellularis

APRIL is pleased to announce that a commercial Lawsonia intracellularis quantitative (q)PCR diagnostic test for the detection of sub-clinical and clinical ileitis in pigs is available to Australian pork producers.

An exclusive license agreement for national and international distribution has been signed previously with Apiam Animal Health, an APRIL Foundation Member. A manufacturing agreement between Apiam Animal Health and the NSW Department of Primary Industries has been recently signed, with this agreement signalling the start of testing at Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI). This new test is primarily for herd health monitoring of ileitis control using pooled pen faecal samples, but can also be used to diagnose ileitis in individual pigs.

The diagnostic test for Lawsonia intracellularis is a result of years of excellent research and development carried out by Dr Alison Collins from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, (EMAI) and supported by the Pork CRC and APRIL.

Many farms contain sub-clinically affected pigs that don’t necessarily show symptoms, with only a small proportion of pigs showing clinical signs of ileitis such as scouring. Pigs clinically and sub-clinically affected by ileitis show reduced weight gains, poor feed efficiency and increased days to slaughter, which can significantly reduce net revenue. Clinical disease can be mitigated with vaccination, hygiene and/or medication, but the absence of scouring in sub-clinically affected pigs means producers may not actually be aware of any Lawsonia-induced production losses.

The availability of this diagnostic test, to distinguish between clinical and sub-clinical disease, will improve the control and management of ileitis, a major enteric disease of pigs in Australia and around the world.

Pooled-pen faecal samples for Lawsonia qPCR testing is now available to the Australian pork industry. Samples can be submitted directly to EMAI or through ACE Laboratory Services. For further details concerning submission of samples to EMAI please contact Dr Cheryl Jenkins (EMAI) on 02 4640 6384, or ACE Laboratory Services on 03 5443 9665.

AusScan Online Updates

AusScan Online is a website hosting near-infrared (NIR) calibrations that gives users access to in vivo energy calibrations for poultry, swine and ruminants, plus calibrations to measure reactive lysine in soybean and canola meals. Part of the quality assurance system associated with AusScan Online is Ingot Check, which helps to ensure that a customer’s NIR machine is producing consistent results.

Ingot Check continues to grow in popularity and now has two additional laboratories on the global quality assurance scheme managed by Aunir. The two new laboratories are JT Johnson and Sons (Kapunda, SA) and Forage Lab Australia (Bendigo, VIC). The quality assurance scheme involves a managed monthly ring test in which the individual company’s NIR machine is compared against all other machines in the scheme including the Aunir ‘Master’ NIR machine(s), using sachets containing grain samples of referenced NIR values. In Australia our laboratories are using these same sachets to monitor reactive and total lysine values as well the cereal energy calibrations each month. The schemes offer peace of mind to the laboratories as they are able to monitor the stability of their NIR hardware and calibrations. In addition, results are compared against accredited reference analysis and the Aunir ‘Master’ NIR.

In other AusScan Online news, APRIL can announce that a new NIR calibration is now available to AusScan Online users for the determination of faecal starch content in cattle/dairy cows. This calibration was derived from over 300 samples of faeces collected from individual steers offered feedlot rations containing barley, wheat, triticale and sorghum grains that had been processed to various degrees. The dried samples were scanned with a NIR spectrophotometer and analysed for starch content, and a calibration was subsequently established using scans and starch analyses from the faecal samples. The calibration is rated as ‘excellent’, with a correlation of 0.99 between predicted and actual faecal starch content.

Details relating to access to the calibration can be found on the AusScan Online website.

For any further information in relation to AusScan Online, please contact Dr Charles Rikard-Bell, APRIL Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact (c.rikardbell@april.org.au; 0439 513 723).

[Now closed] Call for tender: Strengthening the AusScan Online Pig Digestible Energy (DE) calibrations

Near infrared spectrophotometry (NIR) calibrations were developed within the Premium Grains for Livestock Program (PGLP) and the Pork CRC for ileal DE and faecal DE (MJ/kg) of cereal grains for growing pigs.

Near infrared spectrophotometry (NIR) calibrations were developed within the Premium Grains for Livestock Program (PGLP) and the Pork CRC for ileal DE and faecal DE (MJ/kg) of cereal grains for growing pigs. The DE calibrations for pigs contain a wide range of cereal grains including natural and artificially weather damaged grains, and at present the calibration includes only grains grown in Australia. In order to improve the robustness of the calibrations maize grains from overseas are to be incorporated into the calibrations, as well as connectivity grains.

APRIL manages the license for the commercial use of the AusScan Online calibrations and is responsible for maintaining and upgrading the calibrations. Recently, APRIL upgraded the poultry AME calibrations by including high energy wheat varieties from Europe and Canada, which significantly enhanced the robustness of the calibrations and improved their validity for use outside of Australia.

APRIL is requiring a qualified research team (or teams) with access to suitable facilities to provide the required specialisations to upgrade the current AusScan Online Pig DE calibrations. The research project will use imported maize samples and a number of connectivity grains (grains from previous studies), which will provide additional data for the pig Ileal DE and faecal DE calibrations to improve the validity and suitability of AusScan Online.

The DE calibrations for pigs contain a wide range of cereal grains including natural and artificially weather damaged grains, and at present the calibration includes only grains grown in Australia. In order to improve the robustness of the calibrations maize grains from overseas are to be incorporated into the calibrations, as well as connectivity grains.

APRIL is requiring a qualified research team (or teams) with access to suitable facilities to provide the required specialisations to upgrade the current AusScan Online Pig DE calibrations. The research project will use imported maize samples and a number of connectivity grains (grains from previous studies), which will provide additional data for the pig Ileal DE and faecal DE calibrations to improve the validity and suitability of AusScan Online.

The tender opened on 3 August 2020 and closed on 31 August 2020.

For further information or inquiries, please contact Dr Charles Rikard-Bell, APRIL Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact (c.rikardbell@april.org.au; 0439 513 723).

Member Focus: A/Prof Susanne Hermesch

A new initiative of the APRIL Newsletter is Member Focus, which provides an opportunity for people affiliated with APRIL to learn more about other APRIL Members or individuals working/associated with the industry. If you would like to volunteer for this segment (as opposed to me asking you!), please feel free to contact me directly.

A/Prof Susanne Hermesch

(Susanne.Hermesch@une.edu.au)

Susanne calls Australia home since 1992, when she began her PhD in pig breeding at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU) at the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale. Following her PhD, Susanne continued to support the Australasian pig industry through research on genetic improvement of efficient lean meat growth, carcase quality, sow lifetime performance and piglet survival. Her research outputs for the Pork CRC about genetic improvement of disease resilience, robustness, health and welfare of pigs has gained international recognition. Currently, Susanne leads research about avenues to reduce the incidence of tail biting in pigs and genetic improvement of seasonal fertility. This research is conducted in collaboration with APRIL and other industry partners. Susanne is committed to fostering the adoption of genetic principles by the Australasian pig industry and enjoys supporting and training postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows in all aspects of selective breeding of pigs.

Susanne was a committee member of the Australasian Pig Science Association (Inc) from 1997 to 2003 and was a co-editor of the Association for the Advancement of Animal in 2019. Currently, Susanne is the President of the Permanent Committee of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production and she is a member of the Advisory Board of the European Master in Animal Breeding and Genetics, a recognised Erasmus Mundus course.

Through UNE, AGBU is a Participating Member of APRIL. Susanne believes that AGBU can contribute to finding new solutions for challenges the industry faces. This will be achieved through collaborative research with other Universities and industry partners. APRIL plays a key role in fostering such a wide-spread collaborative research approach for the Australasian pig industry.