THE new Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd (APRIL), armed with a A$3-million (£1.69-million) bank roll, makes its first call for research proposals to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the Down Under pork industry.
APRIL, which is replacing the Co-operative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), aims to commission the research by the middle of 2018 – 12 months before the end of Pork CRC operations.
Dennis Mutton, chairman of both organisations, says this will ensure continuity of the level of research and support opportunities for researchers during the CRC wind-down.
He says APRIL is determined to drive the Australian and New Zealand pork industry into areas it has never been before by encouraging fresh, game changing ideas from incumbent and new researchers and harnessing a new wave of scientific power.
The New Zealand Pork Industry Board is an APRIL member.
“One of the ways the APRIL board has agreed to do this is by identifying and engaging with a previously untapped pool of talent and bringing new and creative thinking into the pork R&D space to increase speed of discovery and delivery of profitable outcomes,” he says.
Australia’s 1,500 pig farmers produce about 4.85 million pigs from a sow herd of about 267,000 animals. The result is about 360,000 tonnes of pig meat a year with a little more than eight per cent exported to Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Pork CRC chief executive Roger Campbell says researchers are invited to apply if they think they could dramatically improve sow reproduction, or lift the inherent feed efficiency of grower pigs.
“The same invite goes out to anyone with new ideas on how to reduce Australia’s reliance on global grains and soybean meal to reduce feed costs, or those with thoughts on how best to reduce antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance,” Campbell says.
APRIL is also interested in cost effective engineering and precision farming technologies applicable to the pork industry.
Campbell says the Australasian pork industry has a globally acknowledged track record in terms of the adoption of new technologies and ideas, but in an increasingly competitive global market it had to be one of the best, if not the best, in the world.
The Pork CRC is supporting travel and accommodation costs for the first 15 producers or their staff who register for the 2018 Science and Practice of Pig Production course, Jan 29 to Feb 9 at the University of Adelaide.