APSA Biennial Conference, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 27th to 30th
APSA’s 2011 conference highlighted the recent advances in pig science from within Australia and around the globe. The conference was attended by over 300 delegates, with many from Asia, NZ, North America and Europe attending. A summary of the reviews and symposia from Manipulating Pig Production XIII are presented below.
The A.C. Dunkin Memorial Lecture
Was the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for an Internationally Competitive Australian Pork Industry Worth the Investment? Presented by Dr John .S Keniry AM
The A.C. Dunkin Memorial Lecture traditionally opens the APSA conference. The Lecture is delivered to inspire, encourage thought, and to give members of the pig science community the opportunity to think about their contribution to pork production and the overall contribution of pork production to the global community. In 2011, Dr Keniry, Chairman of the Pork Cooperative Research Centre (Pork CRC) and the new CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork, provided key insights into the CRC model for research and development and the impacts that the Pork CRC has had on the Australian pork industry. Dr Keniry discussed the outcomes from the Pork CRC and its short and long term impacts on the research capability and capacity of the pork industry.
Immune function review:
Presented by Professor David Emery (The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia) and Professor Kees de Lange (the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada).
It is acknowledged that further understanding of the immunobiology and practical implications of pig immunity is required to maximise many facets of pig production, ranging from disease control and management to housing and ventilation systems. Professor Emery and Professor de Lange focused on an overview of the key functional biology related to the immune system in pigs, as well as the metabolic and commercial ‘costs’ incurred by pigs when an immune response is initiated.
Modern health management of pigs:
Presented by Dr Darren Trott (University of Adelaide), Dr Trish Holyoake (Department of Primary Industries Victoria) and Mr Tony Edwards (AEC Livestock Consulting)
Disease can have a major impact on the productivity, profitability and welfare of pig farms. There is also increasing concern regarding the development of antimicrobial resistance in both human and animal medicine. The three papers in this symposium discuss the risks of antimicrobial use in pigs and how to minimise these risks through prudent antimicrobial use and through the application of nutritional alternatives to antibiotics.
Eating quality variability:
Presented by Heather Channon (Australian Pork Limited) and Dr Robyn Warner (CSIRO Food and Nutritional Services)
Eating quality remains a significant issue for the Australian pork industry and is recognised as an important area for improvement to drive consumer demand and appreciation for pork. The review, titled 'Delivering consistent quality Australian pork to consumers – a comparative industry analysis’, compared the development, implementation and impact of eating quality systems for beef, lamb and pork.
Feed intake of the modern pig:
Presented by Dr Eugeni Roura (Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences, the University of Queensland), Dr John Black (John Black Consulting) and Mr Mick Hazzledine (Premier Nutrition UK)
Intensive genetic selection to maximise growth, improve feed efficiency and reduce subcutaneous fat has substantially changed the characteristics of the pig. There is recent evidence that the regulation of feed intake in the modern pig is less influenced by the energy density of the diet, and governed by other dietary factors. Dr Eugeni opened the symposium with a description of what is known about chemosensing (taste and smell) and its importance for determining preference for feed ingredients and its influence on metabolic processes affecting overall animal metabolism and intake. Dr John Black then reviewed the physiological and metabolic regulation of feed intake, showing that animals attempt to eat to fulfil their metabolic demand for energy and how this is monitored and regulated at a metabolic level by the animal. The final speaker, the experienced European nutritionist, Mr Mick Hazzledine, presented some conflicting evidence on whether energy density does, or does not, affect fed consumption of modern genotypes, and also reviewed recent research on how other dietary components regulate the amount the pig eats.
Confinement-free sow housing is on the horizon!
Presented by Dr Rebecca Morrison (Rivalea Australia)
The Australian pork industry has made a commitment to voluntarily phase out the use of gestation stalls by 2017. This review titled “Sow housing in Australia - current research and future directions” highlighted recent Australian research on sow housing and management of group systems. Furthermore, Rebecca discussed the future for non-crated farrowing systems and the research that needs to be conducted to ensure the development of commercially-viable systems.