Library & Resources

Current Projects

Dietary Requirements

Several studies, involving the use of bitter compounds in the diet, gastrointestinal hormones, feed additives and pharmaceutical agents, are being conducted to determine whether these strategies can influence insulin sensitivity, reduce rate of gastric emptying and reduce appetite to suppress voluntary feed intake of finisher pigs, and improve growth performance and body composition.

2011/1034.440 – The role of the dietary omega-6:omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio on the performance of grower/finisher pigs

Feeding growing pigs diets with high omega 6:omega 3 PUFA rations can impact on growth performance and animal health. This project aims to fill nutritional knowledge and data gaps to enable recommendations on the appropriate dietary ratios for growing pigs to be provided to pig nutritionists.



2012/1033.496 – Specific carbohydrate formulation in late lactation diets for primiparous sows to enhance early antral follicle development, oocyte quality and postweaning fertility

This project aims to formulate late lactation diets with specific carbohydrate ingredients to enhance insulin secretion in the sow. It is anticipated that this will improve quality and selection of early antral follicles during late lactation and, as a consequence, improve post-weaning fertility of primiparous sows.

2012/1024 – Defining the role of mitochondrial DNA in pig fertility

This project aims to identify breeding dam lines with a high propensity for embryonic development resulting in larger litter sizes. This will allow breeders to selectively breed from these lines, which will be easily identifiable through genetic screening.

2012/2434 – Maternal creatine monohydrate supplementation: a novel strategy to buffer the neonate against hypoxia and reduce preweaning mortality

Creatine monohydrate is used with some success in other species to buffer neonates against the effects of oxygen deprivation during birth. This project is examining whether maternal creatine supplementation during the last week of gestation can reduce the incidence of pre-weaning mortality by protecting the piglet from the negative impacts of intra-partum hypoxia.

2012/2435 – Improvement of sow longevity through identification of early lifetime performance indicators, including the assessment of gonadatrophin response as a suitable selection tool for replacement gilts

The combination of high replacement rates and the premature loss of lower parity sows are of great concern to industry, especially in terms of economic feasibility. This project aims to develop novel selection methods or technologies to provide producers with a means of selecting gilts for suitability as breeding sows.

2012/2436 – Association between gilt structural conformation and implications for lifetime productivity of sows

Lameness, especially from group housed sows, is a major contributor to the premature removal of sows from the Australian herd. This project is investigating the anatomical features of replacement gilts that lead to culling, and will develop guidelines for selection of replacement gilts that enhance lifetime productivity of sows and reduces sow wastage.


Biosecurity and Food Safety

2011/1039.400 – FMD Vulnerabilities Project

This project is facilitating a group of activities to better prepare Australian livestock industries for an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Completion of these activities will enable Australia to optimise its joint industry/government investment in the FMD antigen bank held in the UK.

2011/1017.401 – Establishing the risk of Toxoplasmosis associated with the consumption of pork and pork products

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, and is a pathogen of increasing public health concern. Pork, sheep and goat meat may be contaminated with Toxoplasma gondii. This project is focused on establishing reliable capacity in molecular typing of porcine Toxoplasma gondii and is gathering information to improve tools used to deal with the risk to public health and markets associated with toxoplasmosis.

2011/1017.402 – Establishing the risk of Salmonellosis associated with the consumption of pork and pork products

This project is investigating the industry’s capacity to positively diagnose outbreaks of Salmonella Typhimurium arising from the consumption of pork and pork products with aims of developing appropriate responses and intervention strategies to minimise the risk to public health.



2011/1018.347 – Developing qualitative behavioural assessment as an objective measure of pig welfare

A robust quantitative method to measure pig welfare on farm to assist with improving any negative management practices impacting on welfare is being developed in this project. This project aims to develop a set of tools to allow producers and consultants to measure welfare by observing pig behaviour, quantify changes in behavioural expression during the first few weeks post-weaning and identify how different pre-weaning systems influence behavioural expression in weaner pigs.

2011/1018.350 – Assessment and alleviation of adverse stimuli in pigs

This study aims to provide producers and stock-people with objective tools to be able to reliably determine and alleviate pain and suffering in pigs by improving their detection of ill, suffering and heat stressed pigs.

2012/0026 – Development of Public Attitude Monitoring Scheme (Monitoring Public Attitudes to Inform Animal Welfare Policy Development)

This project is investigating the relationship between attitudes and community behaviour and will assist in development of community education and awareness activities to demonstrate the importance of animal welfare.



2013/032 – Upgrade and Development of Environmental Management Plans (EMP’s) for Conventional and Outdoor Production Systems

This project aims to upgrade the template for indoor piggeries and develop a template for rotational outdoor piggeries to support producers developing new, changed or expanded systems. This will allow producers to demonstrate that their piggery operation is operating sustainably, with consideration for the potential environmental impacts.

2011/1015.409 – Free Range Outdoor Piggery Production

This study is gathering long term (5 year) information on the environmental impacts of free range outdoor pig production to develop clear management plans for best practice sustainable outdoor pig farming.

2011/2323 – CCRSPI (Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries)

This is a collaborative joint venture between primary industry research development corporations addressing climate change in primary industries by determining a strategy and potential areas for cross sectoral research projects.

2013/031 – Demonstrations of How to Achieve Best Management Practices – Environmental Management

This project aims to gather and disseminate practical information on Best Management Practices for environmental sustainability to industry. The project will provide practical information that facilitates rapid uptake of information and BMP technologies by many industry participants.

Energy Usage

2012/2407 – Establishing energy usage on Australian piggeries to enable implementation of energy reduction strategies

This project is profiling energy usage and identifying energy hotspots across a range of Australian piggeries. Information on practical measures to reduce their energy usage to empower pork producers will be disseminated to allow them to make informed decisions about energy use, management and efficiency measures.


2010/1015.332 – Development of microbial indicators of soil quality to quantify the benefits and risks associated with applying piggery by-products to land

A suite of soil indicators, including microbial and conventional monitoring tools, is being developed that can be used to assess and quantify the benefits and risks of applying different piggery by-products to land.

2011/1011.416 – Tracking nutrients in outdoor piggery systems

The long-term environmental impacts of soil nutrient levels and nutrient distribution in outdoor piggery systems are being investigated to identify possible strategies to better manage nutrients on outdoor piggeries.


Technology Transfer and Adoption

2011/2211 – Update of the Birth to Bacon ‘Weaning to Sale’ Manual
The Birth to Bacon kit is a highly useful industry resource even though it is almost 20 years old. This project is being conducted to update two manuals contained in the Weaning to Sale kit: Weaning to Sale and Producers’ Guide to Pig Nutrition. The update will include new research outcomes and industry best practice as it relates to nutrition and weaner-grower-finisher management.

2011/2204 – National Welfare R, D & E Capacity Building Project

This project aims to build capacity and foster links between University of Melbourne, Animal Welfare Science Centre (as a research provider under the National R, D & E strategy) and the Australian egg, poultry and pork industries, and support Dr Jean-Loup Rault in providing research and development leadership.

2011/2321 – Australian Rural Leadership Program

APL sponsors pork industry participants in Course 20 of the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP), rural Australia’s leadership development program to produce a network of informed, capable and ethical leaders able to work collaboratively to advance the interests of their industries, businesses, communities and rural Australia in general. The program is one of APL’s key leadership development activities.

2012/2417 – Membership of Primary Industries Education Foundation

The Primary Industries Education Foundation (PIEF) is a new teacher focused, cross-industry approach to working with schools, aimed at building capability in the primary industries sector and improving community understanding. PIEF and APL are developing resources aligned to the curriculum for inclusion in school classrooms to improve awareness and interest in the Australian pork industry.

2013/2127 – Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) coordinates an annual awards program supported by the Rural RDCs recognising scientists aged 18–35 years working or studying in rural industries. Winners undertake projects of industry significance and sponsorship providing the pork industry with exposure in a wider agricultural forum.

2012/2432 – Adoption Case Study Videos & PPPE 2014 Presentation Recordings

This project collects and disseminates information on new technologies through the creation of adoption case studies videos made readily accessible on relevant websites. The project aims to measures the number of video views and uptake by stakeholders to guide future uptake of new technologies.

2013/047 – Adapting ADOPT for the Pork Industry

This project is investigating the development of a reliable tool to assess adoption potential across the broad range of APL R, D&E activities. The project is evaluating the ADOPT tool, developed by CSIRO, to assist in predicting the likely level of adoption of specific technologies by pork producers and key factors that may influence their adoption.

2013/051 – Measuring Effectiveness of APL Capability Building Activities 

This project is identifying the critical factors, including activities and investments, required to improve the standing of the pork industry as a career option for students. This project will assist in targeting future investments and improve the return on investment for industry resources.

2013/052 – Measuring Effectiveness of APL Technology Transfer & Adoption Activities Using Web Based Solutions 

This project is developing extension methodologies, which are accessible and cost effective to the majority of producers, to encourage their adoption of research outcomes. This project is also evaluating the effectiveness of web-based delivery of extension material in the form of webinars and podcasts.


Current Travel Awards

2011/2316 – Ron Collins Memorial Travel Award Recipient – Greg Mills: ‘Increasing Awareness of a Social License to Operate’

This Travel Award supports overseas travel to the successful recipient in the Australian pork industry to further investigate a topic of benefit to the industry. Recipient Greg Mills used the grant to travel to the United States to attend the Food Integrity Summit, spend time with the Center for Food Integrity in Missouri and visit pork producers involved in the “FarmersFeedUs” initiative to gain producer insight into the development of a social licence. Greg is currently disseminating the outcomes of his trip to the Australian pork industry at various industry events.



Current Postgraduate Research Scholarships

  • Optimising production of male pigs immunised against GnRF
  • Effects of high level vitamin E, selenium and their combination on growth performance and antioxidant status of growing pigs under hyperthermia
  • Social strategies of sows in groups
  • Metrics to benchmark stock handling
  • Exotic disease prioritisation
  • Qualitative behavioural assessment
  • Alleviation of adverse stimuli in pigs
  • Establish a process model to estimate the risk of Salmonellosis from consuming pork and pork products
  • Investigate the molecular epidemiology and public health significance of Salmonella in pigs and pork.

Current Honours Award Research Scholarships

  • Understanding the role of lipids during the acquisition of oocyte quality.