Current projects

Australian Research Council – Linkage Projects (APRIL as Partner Organisation)

  • LP 180100218: Early stress experiences and stress resilience and emotionality in pigs [Administering Organisation: The University of Melbourne. Other Partner Organisations: The University of Queensland, SunPork Pty Ltd., Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd., University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, USDA – Agricultural Research Service, USA].
    • Proposal Summary: Modern pig farming is a major source of food providing substantial nutritional, social and economic benefits in Australia and worldwide (1.48 billion pigs slaughtered globally in 2016 with estimated gross value of production of $350 billion). Stress vulnerability is a major animal health and production problem in the life of the commercial pig. Animal welfare is of increasing concern to the public, consumers and pork producers. Early maternal care and handling of non-human primates and rodents have profound effects on adult vulnerability to stressors. This project intends to examine effects of early life experiences on emotionality and stress resilience in pigs, generating new knowledge on early life management to endow stress resilience.
  • LP 190101161: How to make antimicrobials in pig feed redundant, naturally (Administering Organisation: The University of Queensland. Other Partner Organisations: The University of Melbourne, SunPork Pty Ltd., DSM Nutritional Products).
    • Proposal Summary: Antimicrobial resistance has become a major issue in human and veterinary medicine being partially caused by the use of in-feed antimicrobials in farm animals. This project aims to completely eliminate antimicrobials from piglet feeds. The key differential approach is based on helping the physiology of the animal rather than testing interventions against bacteria. The project will consist of developing a novel nutritional strategy of naturally (through maternal conditioning) boosting the natural appetite and the capacity to digest in piglets early in life. The anticipated outcome is that the new peri-natal program will result in minimal bacterial proliferation and diarrhoea thus, negating the need for in-feed antimicrobials in piglets.

Innovation Projects 2021

  • Investigating the impact of circulating creatine concentrations in gestation on vitality and survivability of low birthweight piglets (Dr Will van Wettere, The University of Adelaide).
  • No pus please – real time detection of deep tissue abscesses in carcasses using lean meat yield estimation (Dr Darryl D’Souza, SunPork Pty Ltd.).
  • Escaping the daily grind – coarser ground diets for improved foetal growth (Dr Kate Plush, SunPork Pty Ltd.).
  • Novel aspirin supplementation during gestation to improve farrowing rate and piglet birth weight of sows mated in summer [Dr Fan Liu, Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd.].
  • Brain measures of positive welfare in pigs (Professor Alan Tilbrook, The University of Queensland).

Industry Priority Projects 2020/21

  1. Heat tolerance (HT) in lactating sows: dietary strategies, metabolic biomarkers and microbiome signature (Project Leader: Professor Eugeni Roura, The University of Queensland).
  2. Hot and bothered! Long term impacts of late pregnancy heat stress on sows and progeny (Project Leader: Dr Kate Plush, CHM Alliance).
  3. Easing the weaning transition: large piglets from large pellets (Project Leader: Mr Robert Hewitt, CHM Alliance).
  4. Use of thermographic technology to detect reproductive state in sows and improve piglet performance in a commercial farrowing house [Project Leader: Dr Jessica Craig, Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd].
  5. Food Waste to Pig Feed – Safe and Bio-secure (Project Leader: Dr Valeria Torok, SARDI; a joint project with the Fight Food Waste CRC).
  6. Developing high-throughput molecular screening technique to detect reciprocal translocation in boars (Project Leader: Professor Tariq Ezaz, University of Canberra)

Innovation Projects 2019

What sensory attributes are most critical for consumer evaluation within an Australian Pork eating quality program? Professor Frank Dunshea, The University of Melbourne.

Development of a Streptococcus suis vaccine via measurement of immune responses to four different Streptococcus suis vaccine preparations, using an Australian cps2 ST25 strain. DrMark O’Dea, Murdoch University.

Oral means of increasing endogenous GH levels and enhancing the performance and carcass characteristics of growing pigs. Dr Fan Liu, Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd.

Investment Round 1 2017-2018: funded projects


 A1-101 – Novel approaches for reducing antimicrobial resistant and pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria in the porcine gut –  Sam Abraham – Murdoch University

A1-103 – Improving enteric health, understanding impact on gut microbiome and weaner performance through the use of protease enzymes – Robert Hewitt – SunPork North


 A2-101 – Protected vitamin and mineral premixes maintain performance of commercial pigs at reduced inclusion rates – Rob Hewitt – SunPork North


3A-101 – Improved feed efficiency, control of P2 back fat and maintenance of pork quality in finishing pigs fed bitter extracts – Eugeni Roura – University of Queensland


A 3B-101 – Using GnRH analogues for fixed-time AI and pregnancy support to address seasonal infertility in sows – Sean O’Leary – University of Adelaide

A 3B-102 – Nutritional supplementation to increase the number of pigs weaned and fertility of sows which farrow and are mated during summer / early autumn – William van Wettere – University of Adelaide

A 3B-104 – Seasonal fertility: a novel approach to alleviating seasonal infertility in sows – Kate Plush – SunPork Solutions

A 3B-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 – Alice Weaver – Myora Farms