Supported Projects.

Transformational Projects

CRC-Project (CRC-P) (APRIL as a Project Partner)

  • CRCPXI000037 Eliminating pig tail removal to improve welfare and industry sustainability [Lead Applicant: SunPork Pty Ltd. Project Partners: APRIL, Australian Pork Limited, PIC Australasia Pty Ltd., Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd., RSPCA Australia, The University of Melbourne, The University of Queensland, and the University of New England].
    • Proposal Summary: Tail biting is confronting, an undesirable consequence of pork production, and is an adverse welfare and economic issue for the pork industry. Pigs have part of their tail removed (docked) soon after birth to prevent tail biting later in life. Continuation of tail docking is a substantial reputational risk that will threaten the sustainability of the $5.3 billion Australian pork industry. Elimination of tail docking will give significant welfare benefits. This will enhance societal confidence in the pig industry leading to improved market opportunities and production returns for pork producers. Support from the CRC-P will give pork producers the confidence to raise pigs with intact tails while maintaining high standards of pig welfare.

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.
  • T-103 Novel approaches for combatting antimicrobial resistance in Australian pigs: Exploring nature’s antimicrobial arsenals, naturally derived feed additives and natural bacterial flora to combat resistant bacteria. (A/Prof Sam Abraham, Murdoch University).
    • The overarching aim of this project is to determine the origin, transmission pathways and public health impact of newly emergent, critically important antimicrobial-resistant (CIA-R) Escherichia coli in pigs in order to develop novel control strategies for the Australian pork industry. This project expects to use advanced high throughput robotics and genomics to understand the extent of the AMR in pigs, significantly maximising the impact of novel integrated control strategies based on Nature’s antimicrobial arsenal. Using naturally derived feed additives, phages, and natural bacterial flora, the outcomes will enhance our understanding of AMR in Australian pigs and development of commercially viable solutions. The anticipated outcomes will address one of the most pressing and globally significant animal and public health issues at the moment, namely the development and dissemination of resistance to last-line human use antimicrobials in food-producing animals.

Innovation Projects 2022

  • The use of inhibin vaccine to increase litter size in pigs (Professor Paul Verma, SARDI).

Industry Priority Projects 2022

  • How low CAN you go?: Optimising the use of calcium nitrate (CAN) in gestating sow diets to reduce piglet birthweight variation and improve their lifetime performance (Dr Jessica Craig, Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd.).
  • Literature Review: Identifying knowledge gaps and strategies to improve progeny uniformity of pigs (Dr Fan Liu, Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd.).

Innovation Projects 2021

  • Investigating the impact of circulating creatine concentrations in gestation on vitality and survivability of low birthweight piglets (Dr Tanya Nowland, SARDI).
  • 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).
  • Heating up the house: Evaluating the effect of novel monitoring and heating systems on the productivity, welfare and economics of farrowing houses (Dr Maria Jorquera-Chavez, Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd.).
  • Use of progesterone and GM-CSF to improve the fertility of extended semen (A/Prof Mark Nottle, The University of Adelaide).

Industry Priority Projects 2020/21

  • Heat tolerance (HT) in lactating sows: dietary strategies, metabolic biomarkers and microbiome signature (Project Leader: Professor Eugeni Roura, The University of Queensland).
  • Hot and bothered! Long term impacts of late pregnancy heat stress on sows and progeny (Project Leader: Dr Kate Plush, CHM Alliance).
  • Easing the weaning transition: large piglets from large pellets (Project Leader: Mr Robert Hewitt, CHM Alliance).
  • 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].
  • Food Waste to Pig Feed – Safe and Bio-secure (Project Leader: Dr Valeria Torok, SARDI; a joint project with the Fight Food Waste CRC).
  • Developing high-throughput molecular screening technique to detect reciprocal translocation in boars (Project Leader: Professor Tariq Ezaz, University of Canberra)

  • Precision monitoring of reproductive state via development of pen side mucus testing and continuous remote monitoring (Associate Professor Ros Bathgate, The University of Sydney; Professor Paul Verma, SARDI).

Innovation Projects 2019

  • Real-time, In-field water testing. Dr Louise Edwards and Mr Robert Parkes (Ridley Agriproducts Pty Ltd.).
  • Insect meal from pork-processing-derived material. Dr Kristy DiGiacomo (The University of Melbourne).
  • Development of a Streptococcus suis vaccine via measurement of immune responses to four different S. suis vaccine preparations, using an Australian cps2 ST25 strain. Dr Mark O’Dea (Murdoch University).
  • Low dose dietary strategies in late gestation to enhance born alive and piglet survival and performance. Dr Jessica Craig [Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd.].
  • Oral means of increasing endogenous GH levels and enhancing the performance and carcass characteristics of growing pigs. Dr Fan Liu [Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd.].
  • Using algal extracts to improve weaner growth performance and digestibility. Mr Robert Parkes (Ridley Agriproducts Pty Ltd.).
  • What sensory attributes are most critical for consumer evaluation within an Australian Pork eating quality program? Professor Frank Dunshea (The University of Melbourne).

Investment Round 1 2018-2019: funded projects

  • Novel approaches for reducing antimicrobial resistant and pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria in the porcine gut (Professor Sam Abraham, Murdoch University).
  • Proof of concept: Oral Fluids and quantitative assessment for Porcine Chronic Respiratory Disease (PCRD) in Australian field conditions [Dr Greg Tuckett/Dr Jessica Craig, Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd.].
  • Developing remote monitoring methods for early detection of respiratory disease in pigs (Dr Ellen Jongman, The University of Melbourne).
  • A lab on a chip for real time pain and animal welfare biomarker measurement (Dr Robyn Terry, Professor Paul Verma, SARDI; Dr Abel Santos, The University of Adelaide).
  • Improving enteric health, understanding impact on gut microbiome and weaner performance through the use of protease enzymes (Robert Hewitt, SunPork).
  • Protected vitamin and mineral premixes maintain performance of commercial pigs at reduced inclusion rates (Robert Hewitt, SunPork).
  • Review relationship between energy intake and protein deposition in 60-110 kg pigs with modern genetics using DXA scanner [Dr Fan Liu, Rivalea (Australia) Pty Ltd.].
  • Feeding a single diet to pigs in the grower/finisher stage to reduce feed costs and improve feed efficiency (Dr Karen Moore, Pork Innovation WA).
  • Improved feed efficiency, control of P2 back fat and maintenance of pork quality in finishing pigs fed bitter extracts (Professor Eugeni Roura, The University of Queensland).
  • Using GnRH analogues for fixed-time AI and pregnancy support to address seasonal infertility in sows (Dr Sean O’Leary, The University of Adelaide).
  • Nutritional supplementation to increase the number of pigs weaned and fertility of sows which farrow and are mated during summer / early autumn (Associate Professor William van Wettere, The University of Adelaide).
  • Identifying reciprocal chromosomal translocations to reduce early embryo mortality Dr Darryl D’Souza, SunPork).
  • Seasonal fertility: a novel approach to alleviating seasonal infertility in sows (Dr Kate Plush, SunPork).
  • 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 (Dr Alice Weaver, Myora Farms; now SARDI).