2017 – Manipulating Pig Production XVI


APSA Biennial Conference, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 19th to 22th November, 2017

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APSA Biennial Conference, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 19th to 22th November, 2017

APSA is pleased to announce for the second time, the conference proceedings will be published in full as a Special Issue of Animal Production Science. This move to publication in a journal will provide greater exposure for APSA and ensure our authors are more widely recognised for their outstanding scientific contributions. The Animal Production Science is an international journal focusing on the publication of cutting-edge research relating to the production of food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals. The subject scope extends from the molecular level through to the role of animals in farming systems. The target readership is animal scientists, and administrators and policy-makers who interface with this discipline.

Research papers in Animal Production Science focus on improving livestock and food production, and on the social and economic issues that influence primary producers. The journal is predominantly concerned with domesticated animals (beef cattle, dairy cows, sheep, pigs, and poultry); however, contributions on horses and wild animals may be published where relevant. All papers are peer reviewed by at least two reviewers.

APSA’s 2017 conference highlighted the recent advances in pig science from within Australia and around the globe. The conference hosted over 350 delegates, with many from Asia, NZ, North America and Europe. A summary of a selection of the reviews and symposia from Manipulating Pig Production XVI are presented below.

Chapter 1: A.C. Dunkin Memorial Lecture  – Seasonal infertility in pigs: what have we achieved and where are we up to?​

Speaker – Dr Ray King  

The summer can be one of the most challenging times of the year for care of pigs as the combination of heat and increased day-length create environmental conditions that can be difficult to cope with and manage. The Australian pig industry has spent considerable resources in addressing the issues that affect pig production during summer and yet seasonal infertility still causes significant issues for Australian and International pig production.

Seasonal infertility was one of the first major production syndromes that had research outcomes presented at APSA and is a perfect example of how even with the best intentions and substantial robust research, some issues continue to cause production losses. Dr Ray King will provide collated information from international and Australian projects including those commissioned by the Pig Research and Development Corporation (PRDC), Australian Pork Limited (APL) and the High Integrity Australian Pork Cooperative Research Centre (HIAP CRC), Dr King will highlight the projects and their outcomes that were presented at APSA to assist industry to alleviate the problem of seasonal infertility.  In addition, Dr King will identify potential knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research.

Chapter 2: Symposium – What consumers want

Speakers – Dr Heather Bray, Dr Darryl D’Souza and Mr Evan Bittner

Consumers consider a wide variety of intrinsic and extrinsic cues, and credence attributes when making purchasing and consumption decisions for food products. Brand recognition has been an important extrinsic cue for consumers, especially in the case of pork product quality.  However, the branding of fresh pork products in Australia has not been very prominent, due to the dominance of retailer ‘home brand’ labels. Increasingly however, these retailer labels are using information and branding relating to adjectives (credence attributes) such as animal welfare, production systems, environment etc. The role of these credence attributes in Australia, are now very much regarded by consumers as surrogate indicators of pork quality.  This paper will look at consumer preferences and attitudes to pork and the role credence attributes play when consumers purchase pork. In addition, this paper looks at the role of retailers in delivering pork with adjectives.

Chapter 3: Symposium – Genetic improvement in a closed herd

Speakers – Dr Kim Bunter, Professor Dorian Garrick and Dr Matt Culbertson

The Australian pig industry operates in a relatively unique space having been closed to the importation of porcine genetic material from the late-1980s. This restriction in trade has prevented diseases such as PRRS from wreaking havoc within our naïve production systems, however, it has also restricted access to the range of genetic material available outside of Australia. Whilst our grower herd performance is generally world class, Australian sow productivity is nearer to the bottom of global league tables, and this productivity gap may be an indirect result of Australia’s rigorous biosecurity rules. Whilst the standard methods of genetic selection have served us well and our understanding of management, nutrition and the environment has improved to allow for better expression of a sow’s genetic potential, this symposium will look at advances in the fields of genetic improvement and genomics that could lead to gains in productivity within our closed herd.

Chapter 4: Review – Novel marine polysaccharides and maternal nutrition to stimulate gut health and performance in post-weaned pigs

Speaker – Professor John O’Doherty

Feed additives have been widely used in pig nutrition to improve nutrient digestibility, health, production efficiency and performance for over 30 years.   Despite this acceptance, investigation into their application as well as the development of novel feed additives continues as the pork industry strives for improvements to efficiency, health and performance.  Professor John O’Doherty from the University College Dublin will review current and novel feed additives for their potential to influence pig performance and efficiency.  Professor O’Doherty will discuss how feed additives may influence the microbial population of the gastrointestinal tract, nutrient digestibility, gut structure and function, health and how these may be applied in pig production

Chapter 4: Review – Neurophysiological assessment of animal welfare​

Speaker – Professor Alan Tilbrook

The Australian pork industry us committed to continued improvement in animal welfare.  Great strides have been made in animal welfare assessment and a change in attitude toward facilitating positive affective states has gained momentum.  As such, advanced methods of assessment are being developed to meet these changing demands.  This review will serve as a ‘where to from here’ reference piece and focus on advanced assessment concepts and methods as the industry strives for objective assessment of animal welfare.

Chapter 4: Review – Current and future antimicrobial resistance issues for the Australian pig industry​

Speaker – Dr Darren Trott

There has been much call from several governments and human health specialists to reduce or ban the use of antimicrobials in agriculture but is agriculture really to blame for AMR?  Would ceasing the antibiotic use in livestock industries completely stop this problem and how much do we really know about AMR?  This review will which outline the causes of AMR, including whether removal of antibiotics will be the solution to stopping the spread of AMR.  In addition, potential biosecurity issues that may contribute to AMR including the zooanthroponotic risks that may be part of the broader issue, will also be discussed.  Also, the authors insight into how industry must deal with the issues concerning AMR, what strategies may be available to save antibiotics for both humans and animals and how technology and new diagnostics can aid in this challenge will also be discussed.

Chapter 4: Review – Guaranteeing consistently high quality Australian pork: are we any closer?​

Speaker – Heather Channon

Eating quality systems have been the focus for the pork industry’s meat research for the last 15 years.  A symposium at APSA in 2001 examined the management of eating quality of pork from farm to processor with the recommendation that the Australian Pork Industry adopt a “whole of supply chain” approach to pork production.  Implementation of eating quality standards and practices as part of an overall quality assurance system to produce pork that is lean, tender, juicy and free of unpleasant flavours and aromas was also recommended.  Significant investment has been made over this time, but are we any closer to an eating quality?

Chapter 5: Contributed abstracts – Nutrition, growth performance, heat stress and gut health

Chapter 6: Contributed abstracts – Lactation and welfare 

Chapter 7: Contributed abstracts – Reproduction, genetics and environment

Chapter 8: Contributed abstracts – Meat eating quality and food safety

Chapter 9: Contributed abstracts – Antimicrobial resistance and health

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