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Pork CRC Research Highlights Ways to Reduce Production Costs

by 5m Editor
25 October 2011, at 12:00am

One of the major outcomes for Australia's Pork CRC for an internationally competitive pork industry was reduced production costs for high quality pork through more reliable and consistent protein and energy supplies via innovative grain production, co-product utilisation and quality assessment.


The latest Pork CRC newsletter states this has been achieved by the following outputs:

Output 1.1: New and adapted cereal varieties with outstanding yield, excellent disease resistance, wide adaptation and improved feed quality characteristics.

Delivery targets: Three to five cereal cultivars with favourable yield, disease resistance, growing range and nutritional attributes for pigs.

Two new cereal varieties have been commercially released.

The barley variety, Shepherd, was released by AWB Seeds in 2009 and is well adapted to southern Queensland where it competes well with other well established barley varieties.

Waratah Seeds had a limited release in 2009 of the higher energy triticale, Berkshire, which was a product of the Pork CRC plant breeding program. Berkshire has often provided better and more consistent growth performance in pigs and poultry than wheats, despite the slightly lower energy content. Berkshire has been popular with pork producers and associated grain growers because of its high yield, relatively high energy and good adaptation to triticale growing regions.


Dr Ray King, Manager, Pork CRC
Programme One: 'Securing more reliable and consistent supplies of protein and energy for pig diets'.

Output 1.2: Publication of practical guidelines for the production and supply chain arrangements for new and existing legumes for the pig industry.

Delivery targets: Improved varieties of legume available. Agronomic practices suited to effecting yield and feed quality improvements.

Two new field pea varieties have been released.

Maki, released by AGT Seeds in 2009 and CRC Walana, released in 2011, are well adapted to northern Australia and detailed agronomic packages support their marketing.

Bean Growers Australia is encouraging their growers to grow these new field peas and will purchase and market them on behalf of their growers.

Output 1.3: Enhanced and updated near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS) calibrations for predicting nutritional quality of feed ingredients for pigs.

Delivery targets: Initial NIRS calibrations for pig ileal digestible energy, faecal digestible energy, chemical and physical characteristics of feed ingredients.

An accurate and rapid method for measuring the energy value of grains is essential for improving the formulation of rations for pigs of all ages. A difference of 1MJ per kg can be worth up to A$20 per tonne, depending on type of diet and relative prices of alternative grains, fibre sources and high energy ingredients.

The NIR calibrations established in the Premium Grains for Livestock Program for predicting the digestible energy (DE) content of cereal grains for pigs have been markedly enhanced in the Pork CRC. The population of grains that make up the calibration is now above 250.

The precision with which the DE values of unknown samples can be predicted with a confidence of 95 per cent probability has improved from ±0.38 MJ per kg for the PGLP calibration to ±0.27MJ per kg for the new calibration.

Output 1.4: Novel methods for improving the utilisation of feed ingredients by pigs.

Delivery targets: Novel or improved methods of processing feed ingredients to increase economically their nutritional value for pigs.

The size of grain particles incorporated into pig feeds has a marked effect on the rate of in vitro starch digestion and feed efficiency.

Results of initial in vitro studies showed that if grain particles in the feed did not exceed 1.0 mm for barley and 0.75 mm for sorghum, all starch should be digested in the small intestines and feed use efficiency should improve.

In commercial feed milling, an option to reduce grain particle size is to regrind. Results from pig growth studies revealed that re-grinding resulted in 22 per cent and 10.5 per cent improvement in feed use efficiency for sorghum diets offered to weaner and grower pigs. Re-grinding barley fed as a mash resulted in 15 per cent and 8.3 per cent improvement in feed use efficiency for weaners and growers, respectively.

October 2011