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.

 

Reproduction

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.

 

Welfare

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.

 

Environment

2015/052 – Development of a novel sensor technology to improve effluent management decisions in the pork industry

This project aims to gather wastewater data and develop sensor technology to enable real-time measurement, prediction, and in-field reporting of key waste stream parameters to deliver informed management of these issues. The technology integrates sensor componentry to look at feed wastage, nutrient and energy recovery and environmental impact. Development of a low-cost sensor is in progress.

2016/085 – Anaerobic pond sludge profiling and trigger point determination

For new and expanding piggery developments, regulatory authorities generally require applications which include documentation demonstrating that effluent systems have been designed to achieve a specified maximum storage pond spill frequency (typically 1 in 10 years, on average). Daily water balance modelling, using at least 30 years of historical rainfall and evaporation data for a piggery site, is regarded the most comprehensive and realistic method for demonstrating compliance with the relevant regulatory standards. With no suitable, widely-accessible daily water balance models available in Australia, there is a recognised need for the development of a relatively simple, daily water balance model, specifically for use in modelling effluent systems at Australian piggeries. This project will provide a working computer model and user manual to effect this.

2016/2250 – Bubble Column Evaporator (BCE) – feasibility study via a demo unit

This project aims to progress the development of bubble column evaporator technology for use on piggery effluent.

2017/2203 – Pathogens and piggery effluent – an updated review

This project provides an update on a previous study and comprises a detailed literature review of the current knowledge and understanding of the health risks associated with piggery effluent. The report will provide a detailed set of recommendations of any required changes to the current guidelines for effluent re-use.

2017/2212 – Trends in environmental impacts from the pork industry

This project will determine the trend in environmental impacts, focusing on GHG emissions, water and energy across the pork industry in 10-year intervals from 1980 to 2020, combining the findings with previous research and a current pork CRC study focused on projecting impacts into the future. The study is expected to trace the ongoing changes and improvements in environmental performance of the industry, demonstrating the progress achieved by the industry in this time. The project will collect data and develop a methodology that the industry can use as a basis for future benchmarking of environmental performance at an industry level.

2017/2237 – Piggery odour emission rate validation study

Odour emissions from piggeries remain a significant issue for the Australian pork industry. The capacity to expand existing piggeries or establish new sites often hinges on the availability of adequate separation distances to mitigate the potential for odour nuisance at surrounding sensitive receptors. The aim of this project is to provide up to date odour emission rate data from Australian piggeries, together with a more comprehensive odour emission rate dataset including OER data from previously unmeasured sources i.e. secondary ponds following covered primary ponds etc. and will complement the National Odour Management Guidelines.

2018/0003 – Pork water balance model development

For new and expanding piggery developments, regulatory authorities generally require applications which include documentation demonstrating that effluent systems have been designed to achieve a specified maximum storage pond spill frequency (typically 1 in 10 years, on average). Daily water balance modelling, using at least 30 years of historical rainfall and evaporation data for a piggery site, is regarded as the most comprehensive and realistic method for demonstrating compliance with the relevant regulatory standards. With no suitable, widely-accessible daily water balance models available in Australia, there is a recognised need for the development of a relatively simple, daily water balance model, specifically for use in modelling effluent systems at Australian piggeries. This project will provide a working computer model and user manual to effect this.

2018/0029 – Small scale syngas plant to use spent bedding

Wildfire Energy has developed the Moving Injection Horizontal Gasification (MIHG) process as a simple method to turn spent bedding and other biomass solids generated at piggeries into a combustible gas which can be conditioned and cleaned and then fed to a gas engine to generate electricity. This project aims to collect data based off samples provided and measure the efficiency of this process. The project will also develop an economic feasibility study for integration into piggery operations.

2018/0030 – NPI Net Reporting Tool

Most piggeries that trigger NPI reporting currently use the simple reporting template in the emission estimation technique manual to estimate gross NH3 emissions. It is the threshold for ammonia that most commonly results in a piggery needing to report to the NPI, once numbers exceed 1137 SPU (at a conventional piggery) or up to 7143 SPU (at a deep litter piggery with litter removed off farm).

This project aims to develop a method or tool that enables producers to ‘offset’ emissions, by developing a simple spreadsheet to provide the ability for farms to easily calculate on-farm offset amounts. Consultation with The Department of the Environment and Energy (DEE) is required to ensure a revised method or calculation tool can be used for reporting to the NPI.

2018/0031 – Standardised methodology testing effluent samples for NATA labs

Biogas yield is determined by the mass and characteristics of the volatile solids (VS) that flow into the system, however there are difficulties when it comes to measuring VS. Measurement of VS and total solids (TS) at Australian laboratories, using standard methods, almost certainly results in under-prediction of the mass of these effluent characteristics. This makes it difficult to accurately predict methane gas potential in biogas systems or to optimise these systems. This project aims to identify efficiencies to the methodology.  The project output will be delivered in a technical report to APL, containing a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) that could be applied in a NATA accredited laboratory.

2018/0032 – Clarifying biomethane and small-scale biogas options for Australian piggeries

The present project will extend earlier work by documenting a real biogas case study for a recent biogas installation at a smaller piggery, at the predicted size cut-off for economic feasibility (i.e. 500 sow farrow-to-finish). This will clarify true biogas cost benefit for many smaller Australian piggeries at or near this size. The project analysis will consider hidden costs of approvals and regulatory compliance.

2018/0038 – Waste to Profit (RR&D4P) – MLA led collaboration project

The RnD4Profit Wastes to Profits project will research and develop technologies and business models to capture a market opportunity in excess of $100 million per annum by converting wastes from the red meat, dairy, pork and municipal industries into valuable products. In addition, the project will investigate converting wastes from intensive animal production (feedlots), food processing and municipal water treatment into fertilisers, feeds, chemicals and energy products for use in agriculture.

 

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.