Welcome to the third edition of APRIL NEWS for 2023.
Save the Date: the next APRIL AGM and Stakeholders’ Forum will be held on 13 November 2023, at the Sofitel Hotel Brisbane, commencing at 1 pm for the AGM. The Stakeholders’ Forum commences at 1:20 pm and concludes at 4:30 pm. The format of the Stakeholders’ Forum is still in preparation but will cover some of APRIL’s research and development, education and training, and commercialisation activities, presentations from invited speakers, and a number of other presentations.
Invitations have been extended already, but please contact me if you would like any further information.
The Stakeholders’ Forum precedes the 19th biennial conference of the Australasian Pig Science Association (Inc.).
Research and Innovation provides an update on newly-contracted projects from the last Innovation Projects’ round, and provides a brief summary of APRIL project A3B-105, Effects of negative DCAD and vitamin D in transition diets to increase piglet weaning numbers, improve piglet weaning weight, and minimise sow condition loss during lactation.
Education and Training foreshadows an upcoming call for applications, including for APRIL’s Industry Placement Program (IPP). Further details will be provided via email and in the final newsletter for 2023.
Commercialisation and Innovation in this edition provides a brief summary of a new project that commenced earlier this year seeking to provide the egg industry with rapid, accurate real-time prediction of the apparent metabolisable energy (AME) content of cereal grains.
Commercialisation and Innovation also contains a reminder to those with a great idea to submit an application( or applications ) for this year’s APRIL Enterprise Award. Please feel free to circulate this Award amongst your colleagues and co-workers, and we look forward to your entries.
This edition’s Research Snapshot focuses on a recent publication in Animal Production Science (Van Barneveld et al., 2023) that calculates the net protein contribution for an Australian pork supply chain on the basis of the unique characteristics of Australian ingredients.
Our Member Focus this edition is on Professor Frank Dunshea, The University of Melbourne.
Recent Publications provides an update on publications arising from APRIL/Pork CRC-supported studies. Please let me know (email@example.com) if you have other publications that can be mentioned in future newsletters.
As always,we would welcome receiving APRIL-related information and upcoming events from our stakeholders for possible inclusion in the Newsletter [subject to space (preferred length is 100-150 words) and content], as we see this as an important communication forum also.
Dr John Pluske
CEO and Chief Scientist
Message from the CEO
On August 9-10, representatives from Australian Pork Limited, APRIL, the pork industry and research providers came together in Melbourne to provide insights and inputs into the development of a “Green Paper, that aims to set out industry research and development priorities for the industry in the future. It is imperative that the entire pork industry works together to ensure that funds for research and development (as well as education and training) are used efficiently and to maximum advantage.
It is envisaged that the “Green Paper” will be completed later this month and be presented to APL and APRIL for further discussion and action.
As mentioned by Dr Tony Peacock (APRIL Chair) in the June edition of APRIL NEWS, anew “Participant Model” was approved in principle by the APRIL Board that month, and is currently being refined for further discussion. The APRIL Board considers that this new model will help to provide the opportunity to tailor different participation levels to suit the needs of organisations that want to work with APRIL, to ensure the organisation’s longer-term sustainability and continued support of the pork industry.
The Education Advisory Committee met in early September to consider applications for undergraduate and postgraduate education awards and the Post-Doctoral Fellowship Scheme, following a mid-year call for applications. It was pleasing to see a number of applications being received.
Recommendations from the Education Advisory Committee will be put to the Board for consideration, and successful awardees then notified.
I recently attended the THINK Piglet Health and Nutrition meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.The overall purpose of the conference was to hear about the latest research,trends, and (possible) solutions that can help improve the survival and viability of piglets from hyper prolific sows. Topics covered included pre-farrowing feeding strategies, designs of the farrowing pen, the management of large litters, and the feeding of piglets before weaning.
Of particular interest, the issues of piglet viability and survival with increasing litter size, nurse sows, and corollary welfare concerns, were front and centre for discussion during the meeting.
The Pig Research Summit – THINK Piglet 2023 proceedings are available through open access, via https://animal-journal.eu/animal-science-proceedings/.
Please feel free to contact me if you’d like any further information.
Research and Innovation
New Innovation Projects
A number of new APRIL Innovation Projects have been fully executed, or are in the process of being fully executed, as follows:
- Understanding the impact of climate on the boar and progeny through sperm non-coding RNA (Dr Jeremy Cottrell, The University of Melbourne).
- Placentophagia: investigating its effect on sow and piglet performance in confined and loose housing systems (Dr Lauren Hemsworth, The University of Melbourne).
- Nutritional strategies to increase intramuscular fat (Professor Frank Dunshea, The University of Melbourne).
- Automatic adjustment of gestating sow live weight (Dr David Cadogan, Feedworks Pty Ltd.).
- Can the provision of silage at weaning improve sow welfare and subsequent reproduction? (Dr Lauren Staveley, CHM Alliance Pty Ltd.).
- Use of Colony Stimulating Factor 3 (CSF3) to improve the fertility of extended pig sperm (Associate Professor Mark Nottle, The University of Adelaide).
Congratulations to all those involved in the successful projects, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes from the projects and the benefits to the pork industry.
APRIL project A3B-105, Effects of negative DCAD and vitamin D in transition diets to increase piglet weaning numbers, improve piglet weaning weight, and minimise sow condition loss during lactation, completed through PIRSA-SARDI, Myora Farm, Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition, and Scibus and The University of Sydney, was recently submitted.
The general aim of this project was to investigate the use of sow transition diets that delivered acidogenic feeds and a vitamin D metabolite, calcidiol, to improve the health, wellbeing and production of sows and piglets. The project addressed three research questions:
- Would feeding a negative dietary anion cation difference (DCAD) transition diet from late in gestation to early lactation improve production outcomes?
- Is there evidence that the skeleton regulates energy metabolism in the pig (as it does in other species) as indicated by changes in blood metabolites?
- Is there a positive interaction of both DCAD and the inclusion of calcidiol in a sow transition diet?
The project’s main findings were as follows:
· A significant reduction in stillbirths was observed in the negative DCAD + calcidiol and positive DCAD treatment groups compared to control sows (fed a lactating sow ration).
· There was a significant reduction in mortality(↓ 4%) to day 120 of piglets offered the negative DCAD + calcidiol diet compared to piglets offered the control or positive DCAD + calcidiol diets.
· There was a statistical tendency for more than0.9 additional piglets to be born in the subsequent litter for the negative DCAD and both positive DCAD groups, compared to control sows.
· Urinary pH responses of sows to diets formulated to provide a positive DCAD diet indicated that there was acidification occurring in both positive and negative DCAD treatments. It is possible that the rapidly available starch in barley and wheat, that comprised approximately 50% of the diets, generated enough volatile fatty acids to reduce urinary pH.
· There were minimal differences in sow body condition during the experiment. However, negative DCAD + calcidiol-fed sows lost significantly less backfat during lactation than control-, negative DCAD-and positive DCAD + calcidiol-fed sows.
· Milk fat and protein, piglet weight and the number of piglets weaned were statistically similar for all treatment groups.The lack of a significant effect on number of piglets weaned despite reductions in still births and piglet mortalities was likely influenced by fostering.
· There were statistical differences reflected in blood gas, mineral and metabolite concentrations that are consistent with feeding of a negative DCAD diet, providing more evidence that negative DCAD diets may influence energy metabolism.
The Final Report is available here: https://apri.com.au/research/project-reports/.
A reminder again please that Project Leaders for current projects provide a Project Cash Expenditure Report and Project Quarterly Report for the quarters finishing 30 June 2023 and (or) 30 September 2023.
Any final invoices will not be paid without an approved Final Report and a cash expenditure report(or reports).
If required, templates for all reports can be found at: https://apri.com.au/research/project-reporting/.
Education and Training
To build further upon APRIL’s current education and training investments and enhance human capacity for the pork industry, APRIL will soon be seeking applications to support its education and training program and assist in further building human capacity for the pork industry, as follows:
A number of different opportunities exist for undergraduate and post graduate students or potential students, as follows:
- Scholarship Awards for Honours students.
- ‘Top-ups’ for postgraduate research students (PhD, MS/MSc/MPhil) in an APRIL-funded research project (or related).
- Support for DVM/undergraduate Veterinary Science projects.
- Support for MS/MSc/MPhil students, where are search project is an incorporated component of the program of study, in an APRIL-funded research project (or related).
- Part-support for PhD students.
Applications are also sought from potential research students wishing to be involved in a current CRC-Project (CRC-P), Eliminating Pig Tail Removal to Improve Welfare and Industry Sustainability. A number of different opportunities exist for undergraduate and postgraduate students/potential students interested in pursuing this opportunity, as follows:
- Scholarship Awards for Honours students.
- Support for DVM/undergraduate Veterinary Science projects.
- Support for MS/MSc/MPhil students, where are search project is an incorporated component of the program of study.
National Industry PhD Program
The National Industry PhD Program (https://www.education.gov.au/university-research-commercialisation-package/national-industry-phd-program) will support PhD candidates to undertake industry-focused research projects and be equipped with the knowledge and skills to better translate university research into commercialisation outcomes.
The Australian Government’s commitment is to add 1,800 Industry PhDs over 10 years through this program.
The Program consists of two streams:
- Industry Linked PhD stream: This stream is for outstanding PhD candidates to undertake research projects co-designed by university and industry, with opportunities to be embedded in an industry setting and participate in a 12-week training program.
- Industry Researcher PhD stream: This stream is for highly capable industry professionals who are supported by their employers to undertake PhD projects in partnership with a university while retaining industry employment and salary benefits
Applications for Round 3 2023 are expected to open in November 2023.
Participating universities are responsible for submitting applications on behalf of researchers, industry partners, PhD candidates and industry employees.
Please contact Dr John Pluske (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to receive more information and (or) are interested in being involved in an application with APRIL
APRIL Industry Placement Program (IPP)
The overall aims of the Industry Placement Program are to:
(1) Retain graduates trained by APRIL, the Pork CRC, APL, and (or) other relevant organisations, at the Honours and (or) postgraduate level, and attract others, by sponsoring their placement in a commercial pork production organisation or an affiliated business within the pork industry, in a structured and enhanced development program.
(2) Attract and stimulate graduates into the industry with a career interest in pork production, while continuing their development and understanding of how research and development, education and training,technology, and extension/adoption can enhance industry competitiveness and success.
Applications will open later this year and close sometime in mid- to late-January, 2024.
Commercialisation and Innovation
Predicting the metabolisable energy content of grains for layer hens
A new research project between Australian Eggs Ltd., The University of Adelaide, APRIL and AUNIR commenced earlier this year that seeks to provide the egg industry with rapid, accurate real-time prediction of the apparent metabolisable energy (AME) content of cereal grains for layer hens by adding data to the online NIRS (Near Infra-red Spectroscopy) platform, AusScan Online.
This project, coordinated by Dr Reza Barekatain (PIRSA-SARDI), aims to improve the accuracy of prediction of an existing NIR calibration for layers by adding grain samples that represent the grain available for layer diets in Australia. The project will also investigate the possibility of adjusting the existing broiler NIR calibration to make it suitable for layers.
Once completed, it is envisaged that this calibration will join the stable of existing NIRS calibrations offered through AUNIR (AusScan Online). APRIL receives a revenue stream through this service, that it reinvests in the core activities of research and development, education and training, and further commercialisation endeavours.
APRIL Enterprise Award – Applications Now Open
The APRIL Enterprise Award is open again for 2023.
The APRIL Enterprise Award will be granted to an individual (or individuals) working in the pork industry that can demonstrate innovation and excellence in one or more of the following themes:
- Innovations resulting in new products, new methodologies, new services.
- Potential for accelerated adoption of an innovation to improve performance and efficiency.
- Potential for commercialisation opportunities through APRIL.
The successful Awardee(s) will be selected by an industry-based panel and announced at the APRIL Stakeholders’ Forum in Brisbane on 13 November 2023.
The Award winner(s) will be eligible to be invited to attend this event, and the Award winner(s) will be eligible to receive a cash prize.
Applicants are to be self-nominated and can come from any individual (or individuals)currently working in the pork industry.
The application needs also to address the following selection criteria:
- Appeal to Industry: what is the problem/challenge/opportunity that the innovation addresses?
- Concept/Idea: how was the innovation identified and then developed?
- Feasibility: how is the innovation offering an industry solution? How will the innovation improve and/or accelerate productivity, profitability or industry advancement and competitiveness?
- Value: what benefits will the innovation deliver to pork producers, their business, and potentially the pork industry over the longer term?
How to Apply
Applicants must provide a profile/biography of yourself and your business in 350 words or less and include a high-resolution headshot image.
The application must address a theme, or themes, listed above, and clearly state which theme(s) is/are being addressed. The application must also address the Award criteria (maximum of 300 words per criterion).
Any applications with insufficient detail may be returned with a request for more information to ensure all applicants have an equal chance.
Supporting videos are welcome, but each video (maximum of two) is to be no longer than 5minutes.
Applications must be received by 5 pm AEDT, 16 October 2023.
Details relating to the purposes of the Award and How to Apply, as well as the Terms & Conditions, can be found on the APRIL website at:https://apri.com.au/news-and-media/.
Please direct any queries and send applications to: Dr Charles Rikard-Bell, Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact (0439 513 723; Email: email@example.com).
A recent publication, Net protein contribution from an intensive Australian pork supply chain (van Barneveld, Hewitt and D’Souza, 2023; Animal Production Science Special Issue: RAAN 2023; available at https://www.publish.csiro.au/AN/AN23057; or please contact me directly for a copy), addresses the issue surrounding the adverse consequences of feeding human-edible feedstuffs to live stock through calculation of the net protein contribution (NPC) of the production system in question. If the NPC is greater than 1.0 for the production system,then there are net benefits from the system for human populations with an ever-increasing requirement for protein and amino acids.
The aim of this paper was to calculate the NPC for an Australian pork supply chain (SunPork Group) on the basis of the unique characteristics of Australian ingredients. The calculation of NPC is not complex in itself; however, intimate knowledge of the source of the nutrients and their quality, and interpretation of their human-edible protein fractions,is essential if an accurate estimate is to be achieved.
Using (a) actual, published or estimated values for human-edible fractions of feedstuffs, (b) the percentage of protein available within raw materials considered to be human edible, (c) recommended amino acid scoring patterns for infants, adolescents and adults, (d) published, and calculated from standard reference nutrient databases, digestible indispensable amino acid scores, (e) carcase yields and carcase composition from published studies, and (f) actual feed formulations, feed volumes and production data from the pork supply chain, the NPC was calculated.
The NPC was 3.26, which means that this supply chain generates more than three times the human-edible protein it consumes in the process. This demonstrates the positive value that livestock production systems make to human food supply.
Livestock systems are often targeted as net consumers of vital nutrients such as protein and amino acids and the diversion of these nutrients from human diets. If production systems focus on the utilisation of waste streams, co-products and human-inedible feedstuffs, then they can make a net contribution to human-edible protein supply.
A reminder, Project Summaries and Final Reports projects, are available on the APRIL website (https://apri.com.au/research/project-reports/).
Member Focus – Professor Frank Dunshea
(The University of Melbourne)
At the 2023 American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) annual scientific meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Professor Dunshea was awarded the Federation of American Animal Science Societies (FASS) American Feed Industries Association(AFIA) New Frontiers in Animal Nutrition Award. Frank is the first person from outside North America to be awarded this.
Professor Dunshea’s research has an impressive breadth and quality, and he has published over 1,000 journal, conference, book, or technical articles. His research has had a high scientific impact, and he is currently in the top 1% of scientists for individual impact in Agricultural Science (top 0.22%), Plant and Animal Sciences (top 0.48%) and All Fields (top 0.58%) in the worldwide ISI ranking.
According to Google Scholar, he has an h-index of 72 with over 20,000 citations indicating a high citation index over a range of publications and a clear and overwhelming indication of the breadth of his activities, scientific impact, and international stature. While Professor Dunshea has published broadly, most of his research has focused on animal and human nutrition and food science.
Professor Dunshea has received many awards for his research in animal science, including the American Society of Animal Science award for Growth and Development (2009), Non-Ruminant Nutrition (2013), Meat Science (2017) and Ruminant Nutrition (2022) as well as the Asian-Australasian Association for Animal Production Woogene award for animal biotechnology and green technology (2022).
In 2016, Professor Dunshea was awarded the Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor title, which recognizes those who demonstrate outstanding leadership at The University of Melbourne and the wider community, coupled with pre-eminence in research and teaching. Professor Dunshea was the inaugural recipient of this title in the Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences Faculty. Professor Dunshea also has a fractional (20%) appointment as a Professor of Animal Growth and Development at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.
In 2022, Professor Dunshea was conferred as a Fellow of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences, only the second animal nutritionist to have received this honour. Professor Dunshea is also a Fellow of the Nutrition Society of Australia, the Australian Society for Animal Sciences, and the Australasian Pig Science Association in recognition of his contribution to nutritional and animal sciences.
Moreover, at the recent combined European Association of Animal Science Societies (EAAP) and World Association for Animal Production (WAAP; https://waap.it/) held in Lyon, France, Frank was awarded the WAAP medal for contribution to global animal science. This award is only given every 5 years, so it is indeed a tremendous recognition of the contribution of Frank’s students and academic and industrial collaborators in the livestock industries.
Frank was also endorsed as the next Chair of the WAAP meeting to be held in Melbourne in 2028.
Congratulations, Frank, on these wonderful achievements.
Recent publications from APRIL/Pork CRC-supported projects are as follows:
- Estacio, D.M., Bradshaw, W., Detzler, D., Tactacan, G. and Campbell, R.G. (2023). A multi-component protease improved growth performance and feed cost savings on nutrient-reduced growing-finishing diets containing highly diversified ingredients. Animal Production Science (In Press).
- Galea, R., Hemsworth, L., Lucas, M., Plush, K., Morrison, R., Jorquera-Chavez, M., Zemetis, J., Hemsworth, P., Tilbrook, A. and Stevenson, M. (2023). The incidence of tailbiting in pigs reared under commercial conditions in Australia. In The 56th Congress of ISAE 2023, p. 108.
- Lucas, M., Galea, R., Stevenson, M., Hemsworth, P., Morrison, R., Jorquera-Chavez, M. and Hemsworth, L. (2023). In The 56th Congress of ISAE 2023, p. 241.
- Marchant, J., Rikard-Bell, C. and Jongman, E. (2023). The effects of a molasses block enrichment on behavior and welfare of sows post-mixing. In The 56th Congress of ISAE 2023, p. 131.
- Pluske, J.R., Turpin, D.L., Kim, J.C., Trezona, M., Abraham, S. and Dunshea, F.R. (2023). Impacts of feeding lauric acid on performance of late-finishing, Improvac-treated male pigs. Animal Production Science (In Press).
- Rikard-Bell, C., Taber, N. and Pluske, J.R. (2023). Does the falling-number value impact the adjusted digestible energy content of weather-damaged wheats for pigs? Animal Production Science (In Press).
- Tomas, K., Saviglia, J., Plush, K., D’Souza, D., Butler, K., Hemsworth, P. and Tilbrook, A. (2023). Early-life positive human contact causes quicker stabilisation of piglet behaviour following weaning. In The 56th Congress of ISAE 2023, p. 39.
There is also a number of 1-page papers being presented at this year’s Australasian Pig Science Association meeting in November, in Brisbane. Aspects of APRIL’s research program will also be covered in some of the invited review papers. These publications will appear in Animal or animal-science proceedings, and will be mentioned in the next APRIL NEWS.
A reminder that any dissemination of information in relation to APRIL-funded projects requires prior approval. An approval form can be fund here: http://apri.com.au/research/project-reporting/.
Conferences, Events, Important Dates
- APRIL AGM and Stakeholders’ Forum, 1:00-5:30 pm, 13 November 2023 (Sofitel Brisbane, QLD).
- Australasian Pig Science Association (APSA), 13-16 November 2023 (Sofitel Brisbane, QLD; www.apsa.asn.au).
- 3rd Australian Veterinary Antimicrobial Stewardship Conference (AVAMS23), 20-22 November 2023 (Crowne Plaza, Gold Coast; https://avams.au).
- APL November Delegates Conference, 22 November 2023 (Melbourne, VIC).
- APL Annual General Meeting, 23 November 2023 (Melbourne, VIC).
- British Society of Animal Science (BSAS)Conference, 9-11 April 2024 (Belfast, Northern Ireland).
- PIX, AMC and APL Food with Purpose, 13-15 May 2023 (Gold Coast, QLD).
- Joint AAAS & AAAP Conference, 8-12 July 2024 (Melbourne Convention Centre; https://www.aaap2024.com/).