Senior leaders at the research centre have hailed what has been described at Pork CRC ’s annual general meeting in Melbourne, Australia, as a “year of considerable achievement”.
Pig farmers have committed to gradually phasing out small stalls to provide sows (female pigs) with more freedom of movement. Four in five Australian pork producers have now made the transition to group housing of gestating sows – confinement has been reduced by about 80% as a result.
“We should all be proud of this achievement, which has contributed to the term ‘High Integrity Australian Pork’ becoming a marketable reality and differentiation of our product continuing to be reflected in improved demand and price,” said Pork CRC chairman Dennis Mutton, in a statement.
“While margins in 2015-16 were above the previous year and higher than for most other global pork industries, Pork CRC will continue to further differentiate Australian pork and ensure the industry remains profitable and sustainable.”
Pork CRC is supported by the Australian Government Department of Industry and Science’s Cooperative Research Centres program – hence its ‘CRC’ namesake.
The research body operates against four key outcomes: to improve sow and piglet management, improve livestock health, grow the consumption of pork and deliver the objectives through a carbon-conscious strategy.
Within the next four years it hopes to have set up the Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd (APRIL) as Pork CRC is expected to complete its four research outcomes by 2019-20.
“The calibre of Pork CRC’s program research partners continues to be outstanding and, in particular, I acknowledge the support of our participants, a number of whom have continued to show their commitment to the cause of quality research and development by signing up as foundation members of APRIL,” said Mutton.
The CRC programs have represented a combined total of over AU$210 million ($156.9m) in pork industry research investment, according to an APRIL document.