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Pork Industry Changes Prompt Changes in Research Priorities

13 November 2012, at 10:34am

CANADA - The president and CEO of the Saskatoon based Prairie Swine Centre says research priorities have changed in direct response to changes that have occurred within the pork industry over the 20 years the centre has been operating, writes Bruce Cochrane.

As part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2012, slated for tomorrow and Wednesday in Saskatoon, the Prairie Swine Centre will observe its 20th anniversary by bringing back members of its original research team to discuss their work.

President and CEO Lee Whittington says the pork industry in western Canada has undergone the same type of change seen everywhere in the world where, to improve productivity, reduce cost of production, reduce the amount of overhead and labor per kilogram of pork shipped the size of operations has grown.

Lee Whittington-Prairie Swine Centre:

Increasing size in itself has done a lot for changing the priorities of research.
For example auto sorting of pigs in grow finish is a direct response to not having pens of six but having pens of perhaps 500 or 600 or even more and research in electronic sow feeders isn't something that you need to do when you're only dealing with 30 sows but when you get to having three thousand and putting them into groups of 60 now all of a sudden research on electronic sow feeders is very important to the western Canadian pork industry.

That's probably the largest single factor. I think the other one to consider is the continual need for reducing cost of production through looking at alternative feed ingredients and what is the optimal energy based on the prices of grains and hogs today.

That's an extremely important thing that can vary 10 or 15 dollars per pig.

Mr Whittington notes its most recent economic evaluation indicates the Prairie Swine Centre is adding about 3.60 worth of net income per pig per year in the combination of the various projects it's operating.

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