‘PIG Production – Science into Practice’, an annual course designed to raise understanding of pig production, from conception through to processing and the management required in between, was held at the University of Adelaide’s Roseworthy campus from February 4 to 14.
Supported by Pork CRC and Australian Pork Limited, the course was co-ordinated and taught by the University’s senior lecturer (pigs) Dr Will van Wettere and attended by 45 people, comprising 21 University of Adelaide undergraduates and 24 industry representatives, including producers from South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, NSW, Victoria and New Zealand.
The course covered topics as varied as reproductive physiology, breeding herd management, effluent management, nutrition, health, behaviour and welfare and included visits to a piggery, abattoir and artificial insemination centre and practical demonstrations on Al, heat detection, sample collection and disease diagnosis.
Dr van Wettere said new content for this year included a special session from APL guest speakers Andrew Robertson, Steve Miller, Denise Woods and Grantley Butterfield, which focused on environmental management of piggeries, APIQP, product marketing, domestic and international pig markets and other legislative issues.
Pork CRC Commercialisation and Research Impact manager Dr Charles Rikard-Bell provided two case studies to explain how early Pork CRC research into NIRS calibrations and sow enrichment blocks had been commercialised with partners Aunir and Ridley Agriproducts to provide income to Pork CRC.
In addition to APL and Pork CRC presenters, valuable contributions were made by Tony Edwards and his ACE Livestock Consulting team, as well as Drs Alice Weaver, Kate Plush, Emma Greenwood and Stephan Tait and Profs Paul Hughes and Frank Dunshea.
Dr van Wettere also noted and thanked Graham Reu of Sabor and also Big River Pork for allowing students to visit their facilities and learn the latest in AI and processing.
“On a learning level, particular highlights of this year’s course were seeing how well the undergraduate students and industry participants interacted and worked together to solve pig production-related problems, with some of their discoveries and the outcomes very likely to make their way back into herds at various levels,” Dr van Wettere said.
“Socially, the highlight was the Pork CRC barbecue on the final evening, which showcased sensational Gumshire pork from the Barossa Valley.”