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Multidisciplinary Approaches Offer Most Effective Solutions to Pork Industry Challenges

13 May 2016, at 12:00am

CANADA - The President and CEO of the Prairie Swine Centre says more and more researchers need to a develop multidisciplinary approaches to addressing the challenges facing pork producers, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Over its 25 year history the Prairie Swine Centre has conducted research in three main areas, ethology or applied behavior, engineering and nutrition.

Prairie Swine Centre President and CEO Lee Whittington says, over the past 5 to 7 years, the centre has focused more on challenges that dominate the horizon for the pig industry, and identified sow gestation housing, barn renovation design and transportation as key issues.

Lee Whittington-Prairie Swine Centre:

What makes these larger topics unique is, to really solve them, we need a multidisciplinary approach, so utilizing all of the sciences that we have here to ask the question, and let's talk about transportation, what can engineering tell us about the design of transport, what can the behavior people tell us about the handling of pigs up to and on transit and then after transit, pre-slaughter, what are the economics of meat quality changes if we don't handle them properly and what about feed withdrawal and other aspects of nutrition pre-shipping.

It's a perfect example of how multidisciplinary approach can try to address a problem a lot more efficiently.

A lot of the work that we're focusing on now uses the Prairie Swine Centre barn facilities as our core and we're still doing most of our research there but recognizing that, for the pork producer to get full value for their pigs, we have to do the research up the loading ramp, down the highway and even into lairage and into the packing plant if we're going to help the producer get full value for their hogs.

Mr Whittington says the goal is to create technologies and management practices that will flow value all the way up the pork value change as we follow the pig all the way to market.

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