Research Program Summary

The Co-operative Research Centre for an Internationally Competitive Pork Industry (operating as Pork CRC) conducted research and commercialisation activities in three programs from 2005-2011.

These were:
Program 1: Securing more reliable and consistent supplies of protein and energy for pig diets
The targets were
1) reduce diet costs by 10% by 2012
2) improve the Digestible energy (DE) content of grains by 1.0 MJ/kg by 2012.

Research and commercialisation activities in Program 1 have enabled Pork CRC to meet all Commonwealth objectives and milestones. To date, Pork CRC has released two new grain varieties (a Barley and a Triticale) and three new pea varieties to industry.  NIRS calibrations for rapidly determining the available energy and other nutrient values of grains for pigs, poultry and cattle have been developed and commercialised through AusScan. The calibrations are licensed to 17 Australian organisations and are being investigated by international organisations. Pork CRC also established new grain processing technologies that improved the efficiency of feed utilisation by 12% to 23% in pigs between 20 and 50 kg, and between 7 and 20 kg, respectively. Smaller effects have been identified through changes to feed manufacturing processes, and the results have enhanced the attention paid by feed mills and home feed mixers to grain processing, and the assessment of grain particle size and distribution.
Combined, the outcomes of Program 1 met all Commonwealth outputs and milestones and provide the potential to reduce feed costs by more than the 10% target. The effects of the new grains on feed costs will increase over time as the amount of each grain available to growers and producers increases.

Program 2: Improving Whole Herd Feed Efficiency
The target was to reduce HFC from 4.3 to 3.6 over the life of Pork CRC.

In this program Pork CRC developed new technologies and new information that, if fully implemented, would reduce HFC well below the target set out in the Commonwealth agreement. To date Pork CRC benchmarking project shows that HFC has on average been reduced to 3.7 with individual enterprises achieving HFC values of 3.4. The latter is world class, and at 2004 feed costs, the improvement achieved by these individual producers would reduce average feed cost by 20 cents/kg carcass weight (9.1% or $15/pig). Given the marked increase in feed costs that the Australian and global industries have experienced over the last 3-4 years (46% to 100%), the improvement in HFC achieved through Pork CRC research has the potential to  reduce feed costs by between 19 and 26 cents/kg carcass weight ($13.68 -$18.72/pig). Based on 2004 figures the average cost reduction would be 14.4 cents/kg carcass weight (some $51 million annually across the industry).

The program enabled Pork CRC to achieve Commonwealth objectives and to meet most of the outputs and milestones within the Commonwealth agreement

Program 3: Enhancing capacity to deliver nutrients promoting health and well being through pork
The targets were
1) increase export and domestic sales volumes by 10% by 2012
2) to achieve a $1.00/kg increase in returns for 10% of the product sold into the higher value markets by 2012.

In Program 3, Pork CRC has established the natural human health benefits of Australian pork in respect to cardiometabolic health , weight loss in overweight subjects  , iron deficiency in young women and weight loss and thiamine status in Type 2 diabetics. The outcomes enabled Pork CRC to achieve all Commonwealth outputs and milestones in respect to identifying and promoting the natural health attributes of Australian pork.

Commonwealth milestones and outputs on means of manipulating the cholesterol content of pork and enhancing /understanding the availability of minerals and vitamins in Australian pork were also achieved

The outcomes from Program 3 have markedly enhanced consumer and human health experts knowledge on the health attributes of pork. The outcomes have been unexpectedly positive which largely reflects the general negative perceptions of pork and the lack of good science and research on the subject. The findings have been widely communicated to human nutritionists, wholesale and retail participants and organisations, and now form part of the pork promotion campaigns for the Australian and NZ pork industries.

Program 4: Education & Communication
In Program 4 (Education and Communications) Pork CRC targets in the Commonwealth agreement were to successfully complete 3 postdoctoral programs, 12 postgraduate projects and 21 undergraduate projects. To date the Pork CRC has successfully completed 5 postdoctoral programs, 7 postgraduate projects and 46 undergraduate (Honours awards) projects. Another 6-7 postgraduates are expected to be awarded their higher degrees over the next six months.

Within Program 4, the Pork CRC has met all other milestones relating to the development and running of refresher courses (the third of three will be held in June 2011) for the industry, and effectively reinvigorated, and made more relevant, industry meetings such as that organised by the Australasian Pig Science Association and Pan Pacific Pork Expo.

Major outcomes report on the CRC for an Internationally Competitive Australian Pork Industry

Research Summaries for each program and Full Reports available for projects completed for the CRC for an Internationally Competitive Australian Pork Industry and Research Highlights for each year are available in the Annual Reports

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