Pork Journal Sept/Oct 2019

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porkjournal www.primarymedia.com.au

Volume 41 Issue 5

September/October 2019

Showtime for Pig Club students in Adelaide

SunPork Biennial Conference report

African Swine Fever – the new reality

WAPPA Industry Day

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porkjournal www.primarymedia.com.au

Volume 41 Issue 5

September/October 2019




Peter Bedwell Alex Bedwell

Rosemary Embery


Alex Bedwell


Celia Peters and Toby Threadgold from the University of Adelaide Pig Club at the Adelaide Show.


Peter Bedwell Phone: (02) 9797 2406 Mob: 0419 235 288 Email: primarymedia@bigpond.com Rates are available at www.primarymedia.com.au


Page 4: SunPork Biennial Conference 2019

AUSTRALIA One Year - $55.00*

Page 8: APRIL: Call for applications for Transformational Projects and Industry Priority Projects

NEW ZEALAND One Year - NZ$80

Page 12: Maximising sow feed intake during lactation

OTHER COUNTRIES One Year: Airmail - $A90 Please send payment in Australian dollars.

Page 12: Showtime for Pig Club students in Adelaide Page 13: Update from Australian Pork Limited

Send payment and full details to: 250 Hawthorne Pde, Haberfield NSW 2045

Page 14: African Swine Fever – the new reality

*Australian subscription rate includes GST

Page 16: Managing the hidden challenges to Australian pork production Page 20: WAPPA Industry Day 2019 Page 23: Animal Health Australia welcomes new Chair PRODUCT NEWS Page 10: Seeing is believing for cleaning and disinfection Page 19: Nedap Activator offes demand-driven feeding for lactating sows Page 22: African Swine Fever and the role of insects in its transmission to pigs

ENQUIRIES OFFICE ADDRESS: 250 Hawthorne Pde, Haberfield NSW 2045 Phone: (02) 9797 2406 Mob: 0419 235 288 Production: 0409 944 472 Email: primarymedia@bigpond.com Pork Journal consists of a bi-monthly management magazine. Published by CD Supplies Pty Ltd trading as Primary Media (ACN 091 560 557) All material copyright (editorial and advertisements) and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publishers. Whilst every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the contents of PORK JOURNAL, the publishers do not accept any responsibility or liability for the material herein. Code of Conduct and information about how to make a complaint can be found at www.primarymedia.com.au/aboutus




SunPork Biennial Conference Dr Robert van Barneveld, Group CEO & Managing Director SunPork Group, opened the conference ‘Good food, quality pigs, great people’ in September 2019. Dr van Barneveld addressed a range of topics including African Swine Fever, the rise of veganism, how to deal with pork production in the public view, an update on the new facility, PIC NZ developments, genetic progress at PIC Australia, the start of APRIL, changes at APL, the launch of ‘Whole Hog’, upgrades to the company structure, promotion of the Autism and Agriculture program and wider exposure and the launch of Baconfest (Kingaroy). He said in the next two years the major focus will be biosecurity and crisis management. “Outbreak of disease is potentially the least of the worries, it’s the response that will ‘cripple’ the industry. We need to do everything in our capability to promote and protect biosecurity.” Erin Brenneman from Brenneman Pork in the USA spoke about ‘Having conversations about our farms’. Brenneman Pork is a fully integrated, family run swine and grain operation in Washington County, Iowa. Their focus is to raise quality pork in an efficient, humane, and environmentally responsible manner. It works hard to produce high quality products and promote the pork industry. This family-owned 10,000 sow farm also has its own feedmill and is surrounded by 1.3 million pigs in Washington County. “Iowa is a grow-out state,” Erin said. The farm consists of 35,000 sows 170 people and 85 contract growers, who will market 1.2 million head this year. Erin became the ‘Piglet maternity ward specialist’ and then went on to become an ‘accidental’ public relations director. Realising that people are hungry for information this led to many opportunities to share ‘what happens on the farm’. “Currently there are less people living on the land. We need to understand other people’s perspective.” Erin said it can be difficult to find common ground and it can be helpful to start the conversation by making a connection with people. Erin has become well versed on ‘How to share your farm story on social media’. To start, show the audience the more human side, with some farm facts.


Sharing positive stories about life on the farm and your interests reveals that we are regular people and that farming is ‘what we do’. “Show that we love what we do, make it a networking opportunity.” Farm visits are part of their work, and Erin and staff like being there to answer questions. “It is important to ‘be the salesman of what we do’ to promote ourselves as an industry and how we operate is the right way to produce safe, healthful and abundant pork. Rod Hamann, SunPork Farms South talked about ‘Production systems in Australia: ‘How far can we go?’ Rod broke down Agri-Stats Data showing six years of data trends. He used the data from large production systems in the USA and translated this into Australian dollars and figures. Agri-stats show that the average total cost converted to AUS ranges from $2.99/kg 2013 to $2.30/kg in 2018. This was of a 125kg pig average. The top 25% of the producers are now operating at $2.16/kg the top 10% are $2.10/kg. Why the difference? Feed sources are much cheaper in the USA. From the USA data, total born per litter is 14.1 as an average. The data did show that the top 10% were running at 14.9. “When looking at numbers weaned per litter, they were 10.5 to 11.8 in 2018. The wean to finish feed conversion was 2.34 (FCR) for the top 10% of producers. When looking at the data from the best farms to the lower producing farms the variation is large. Rod noted the diversity in the following needs to be considered: herd size, facilities, location, health status, genetics, and local feed ingredients. The figures did show Australia is not that far behind the USA in production and very close on other parameters. “When looking to improve production, there are several things to consider. Look at a 5-year plan for 5 to 10% improvement in focus areas and develop a plan to make an opportunistic change.” Margo Andrae, CEO APL ‘Strategic directions for Australian Pork Industry’. What is APL’s role moving forward? How do we want the public to view the pork industry? Margo said we must focus on where we contribute to the economy, especially where rural areas are struggling. w


1. Dr Rob van Barneveld, Group CEO and MD, SunPork Group. 2. Erin Brenneman, Brenneman Pork, USA. 3. Rod Hamann, SunPork Farms South. 4. Margo Andrae, CEO APL.


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“How are people going to be buying our product in the future? Right now, we have an opportunity to shape this.” Margo proposed that campaigns and consumer education are to be part of the focus/plan for APL. As a group, APL policy, marketing and R&D are the core functions. “The APL focus needs to be promoted as agile and we need to look at ‘big’ issues. Can marketing pork products be ‘sexy’ again. The ‘Pork on your Fork’ was an excellent campaign, so let’s revive it and promote it. “The strategic plan should involve looking ahead and how to drive the industry forward for the next 10 years.” The topic for David Casey, Director, PIC Global was ‘Healthier animals, a more sustainable food system: The promise of genus and gene editing based around disease resistance’. PRRS is a devastating disease globally. The US pork industry loses $664M per year and European pork industry loses $1.5 billion Euros. David presented new work covering the possibility for PIC to create a PRRS resistant animal and that through gene editing a disease resistance can be developed. “Traditionally animal breeding is based on the best selections and traits. Over time these traits could be studied not just by visible observation but by also understanding animal DNA. “We have the chance to to make it so that the animals are disease resistant so why not consider gene editing as a opportunity. “But are the reulators ready? Opinions on gene editing vary. The original technology was developed in 2015 and since then there has been continued testing and work in this area.” Stefanie Miller and Damien Cleary, SunPork Fresh Foods, covered ‘Market trends from Europe- flavour and packaging’. They attended one of the largest expositions for food packaging and promotion in Europe to get an insight into consumer trends in Europe and lessons for Australia. “The food sector has always been fast moving, but the pace has quickened recently, driven by the demands of consumers and socioeconomic factors.” “Brands risk falling into irrelevancy if they don’t respond to these demands quickly,” according to Cyrill Filott, Global Strategist for Consumer Foods, Rabobank. “Consumer demand is changing as buying power is increasing and the new



generations of consumers are asking for more. “When studying 2019 trends many of the exhibitors in Europe focused on convenience as a top priority. We are spending less time preparing food. Making time to cook is important to consumers. Studies show that nine times out of 10 consumers will pick the easy option over all the rest. “The healthy choices focus is important to the health-conscious consumer. Millennials are driving demand for sustainable products and animal welfare is also gaining attention.” Evan Bittner, University of Melbourne asked ‘Who are the future consumers?’ “With one million Chinese consumers in our market we need to cater to their demands. The conversation around meat has changed. In 2050 meat production will be double current production.” In Evan’s work at the University of Melbourne, using a concept database, the consumer perspective was studied. “Typically, Australians take their time to getting used to new things. As a comparison the Chinese typically adapt to innovation quickly. “We need to think about products and what consumers will want in the future. The ‘fresh’ and ‘authentic’ packaging are key words that consumers picked the most. In the future adding value to the product for customers should be a major focus.” In a panel discussion Rob van Barneveld, Erin Brenneman and Margo Andrae debated plant meat, lab meat, vegan, flexitarian: Do we just go with the flow? People are giving a variety of reasons for eating less meat and health was at the top of the list for reasons. The panel looked at what effect significant media attention around lab meat and plant-based meat alternatives has. The plant-based meat alternatives are being posed to meat eaters. It’s about marketing and how they are promoting their products. The meat industry has been relatively silent as no one is sure how to exactly handle it, not wanting to bring further attention to it. Terms like meat-free chicken, vegan cheeseburgers are being actively used. Where is the truth in labelling? What are the rules and how should they be highlighted? How do we tell our story in the context of these disruptions? How to tell our existing story better? It will be important to tell our story and educate the consumers and support our industry, they concluded.

2 3


1. David Casey, Director PIC Global. 2. Darryl D’Souza, SunPork Group. 3. Evan Bittner, University of Melbourne. 4. Stephanie Miller, SunPork Fresh Foods.


APRIL: Call for applications for Transformational Projects and Industry Priority Projects An independent, member-based research organisation, the Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd (APRIL) seeks to benefit the Australasian pork industry by investing in research and development, education and training. Also in commercialisation activities focused on priorities and deliverables that ensure the sustainability of Australasian pork production, and generate optimal returns for its stakeholders. To build upon APRIL’s current research investments, approaching $2 million, in 2018 and again this year with a number of Innovation Projects, APRIL is currently seeking applications for co-investment in its Transformational Project and Industry Priority Project schemes. Transformational Projects and Industry Priority Projects are key pillars of APRIL’s Strategic Plan (2019-2022), and will address a number of key issues for the Australasian pork industry and APRIL stakeholders. The two Transformational Projects identified by APRIL address the industry issues of enhanced antimicrobial stewardship in the Australasian pork industry through targeted reduction of in-feed medications without adverse health consequences, and elimination of the need for tail docking in Australasian pork production systems. APRIL is seeking a program (or programs) of research and development, likely to be multi-disciplinary in nature, that will significantly address and impact positively these two issues. APRIL’s Industry Priority Projects address a number of key areas that will also shape the future Australasian pork industry landscape. Priority areas include issues such as novel approaches to allow increased use of food wastes in pig diets, making pigs more tolerant to heat, detecting sow reproductive state more efficiently and effectively, and biodegradable packaging solutions for pork products. The complete list of Industry Priority Project priorities can be found at www. april.com.au. Professor John Pluske, APRIL Chief Scientist/CEO, commented, “Consistent with APRIL’s leverging model, a minimum level of co-investment of


25% cash (of the total project cost) is required for APRIL to consider co-investing in projects. However, and the Transformational Projects especially, lend themselves to potentially significantly higher levels of external investment, and researchers interested in applying should seek these avenues wherever possible. Furthermore, as education and training are key priorities for APRIL, researchers are encouraged to explore the opportunity of including tertiary training in their proposals, if appropriate”. Applications for APRIL’s Transformational Project and Industry Priority Project schemes can be lodged by individuals/organisations currently working in the Australasian pork industry, but are also welcomed from individuals and organisations not necessarily having a direct connection.

This may include overseas organisations and companies. Potential applicants should be aware of APRIL’s membership base and the prospective advantages interactions with members may bring to a proposal. Applications for both Transformational and Industry Priority Projects opened on September 16. It is anticipated that funding for successful projects would occur after April, 2020. You can visit the website (www.april. org.au) for further information, including timeframes, FAQs, guidelines and application details. For further information, please contact either APRIL Chief Scientist/ CEO Professor Pluske (0410 436871; Email j.pluske@april.org.au) or Dr Charles Rikard-Bell, Manager, Commercialisation and Research Impact (0439 513723; Email: c.rikardbell@april.org.au

Pork Farmers win Coles awards Australian pork farmers have triumphed at the 2019 Coles Supplier Awards by taking home the winner’s trophy for Community Champion. At a gala dinner in Melbourne, 18 Coles Australian pork farmers including TOP Pork Farms, Andgar Piggeries, Saltlake Bacon, Sunpork Farms, Rivalea, Craig Mostyn WA, and Milne AgriGroup were awarded for uniting with Coles to support FightMND. Coles and its pork farmers raised more than $520,000 through a national pork campaign for FightMND – a charity which is seeking to find a cure for Motor Neurone Disease. Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said it was inspiring to see FightMND and local Coles pork farmers come together to support such a worthy cause. “Thanks to the generous support of our Australian pork farmers and our customers, we were able to raise 57% more funds for FightMND this year. We recognise their amazing contribution by awarding them our 2019 Coles Community Champion Award,” he said. FightMND’s CEO Jamie Howden said “We are enormously grateful to Coles and its Aussie pork famers who are helping to drive world-class re-

search projects to find effective treatments and a cure for MND. On average two Australians are diagnosed with the debilitating illness each day and another two lose the fight against MND each day so these funds are vital,” he said. The Coles Community Champion Award was one of 14 awards recognising suppliers’ excellence in providing merchandise and services.

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Seeing is believing for cleaning and disinfection Cleaning and disinfection provide the foundation for a reliable biosecurity program. Hygiene protocols should be designed to prevent the entry of new diseases and reduce the existing infection pressure below the level which allows the immune system to conquer a potential infection. “The use of foaming detergents and disinfectants is growing across livestock operations due to the accuracy and effectiveness of application,” said Dr Andrew McKay from Zamira Australia. Dr Mckay is one vet who trusts that seeing is believing when it comes to cleaning and disinfection for biosecurity. Foaming allows quick, easy and safe application with a visual check that the job is being done correctly, he said. Generating the desired amount of foam with precise inclusion rates requires the right product and equipment. Foam should consist of 90% air, 9% water and a small amount of chemical. Foaming increases contact time because as the foam bubbles slowly burst they gradually release the active ingredient onto the surface. Good foam should still be visible up to 60 minutes after application. There are two different types of detergents on the market. Alkaline (high pH) and Acid (low pH) cleaners. Animal manure is acidic so an alkaline detergent should be used to neutralise the material and make it easier to remove. Alkaline detergents are more effective at removing fats, proteins and residual feed and are generally less corrosive. Foaming application of an alkaline detergent such as Kenosan increases contact time and penetration which reduces cleaning time. Following detergent application and high pressure rinsing, the surface is ready for disinfection. Foaming the disinfectant results in increased contact time and a more even cover which saves on time and chemical use. The latest generation of disinfectants use a synergistic blend of active ingredients to enhance disinfection performance. Virocid from CID Lines is a powerful blend of Glutaraldehyde and single and


double chains of Quaternary Ammonium Compound (QAC) in combination with alcohol and pine oil. At a cellular level, the three step disinfection process uses alcohol to weaken the cell wall and QAC to penetrate the cell wall allowing the Glutaraldehyde to enter and attack the cell nucleus. Dr McKay advises that biosecurity should be the foundation of any disease control program. At a national level this means creating systems to detect and prevent illegal imports. At a farm level, it means following hygiene protocols using the right products and equipment. Zamira Australia is partnering with National Feed Solutions to introduce a range of cleaning and disinfection products from CID Lines. The benefits of Virocid are that its broad spectrum is validated against 27 viruses, 46 bacteria and 19 fungal and yeast strains. It’s ready to foam and economical to use -> 0.25% -0.5% dilution; application rate of 250ml/sqm. It’s also non corrosive, biodegradable and

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Showtime for students in Adelaide The 2019 Royal Adelaide Show again provided the ideal environment for both regional high school and Adelaide University students to show off their pig handling skills. Twenty four students representing Urrbrae Agricultural High School, Mt Compass Area School, Kadina Memorial School and Coomandook Area School entered Class 51 - Schools Pig Handling Competition, and worked in pairs to move and draft a group of three grower pigs out of pens, along a raceway and into a weigh crate. The event was organised by the SA Branch of the Australian Pig Breeders Association, supported by Pork SA, hosted by industry consultant Graeme Pope and judged by SABOR GM Graham Reu, with Adelaide University students involved in moving pigs up for judging and recording their weights. Students were competing for a total of $200 in prizemoney, with first place trophies and place ribbons awarded by the event’s sponsors Graham Reu, Black Label Berkshire and Urrbrae Agricultural High School. While each pair competing was timed, judging points were more heavily weighted towards those students demonstrating confidence and understanding of normal pig behaviours when moving their animals. Students from Mt Compass Area School placed first, followed by Coomandook Area School in second and third place, and Kadina Memorial School in fourth. In Class 50, the University Pig Handling Competition, 18 members of the Adelaide University’s ‘Pig Club’ competed in pairs over a similar pig handling course. Event sponsors were Graham Reu, Black Label Berkshire and Future Pork with $150, trophies and ribbons again presented by event judge Graham Reu. The University’s Production Animal Special Interest Group – Pigs (aka ‘Pig Club’) is a voluntary student club operating at the University’s Roseworthy Campus, providing Animal and Veterinary Sciences students with additional access to pigs and pig industry activities, outside their set study programs. Club members have contact with SA pig industry identities during ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions focused on a range of pig management topics, off-Campus field trips and evening workshop sessions.




Pairs of pigs representing six different breeds were again supplied by breeders for Pig Club members to manage in their on-Campus eco-shed facility during winter, and were then taken to the Show to compete in Class 51. Forty of the Club’s 100 members were also rostered daily during the Show to wash, feed and move pigs within the Pig Pavilion, and to manage Bank SA’s ‘Ag-Explorers’ stand positioned adjacent to four sows and litters, a guaranteed crowd drawer! Graeme Pope, supported by Pork SA and assisted by Pig Club students, presented several sessions daily to Show-goers on basic pig reproduction, sow lactation and piglet behaviour. Large ‘Don’t Feed the Pigs’ signs organised by Graham Reu and posted around the Pig Pavilion provided reinforcement when discussing pig nutrition and biosecurity with members of the public.



1. Pig Club members after the show. 2. Katrina Kove (left) and Gypsy Rose washing pigs. 3. Nicole Tan (left) and Silvia Neumann holding up piglets. 4. Lia Sires sweeps up during the morning muckout.


Update from APL The Australian parliament has passed legislation which criminalises the incitement of trespass and property destruction on agricultural land. The laws came into the spotlight following the release of the Aussie Farms map which identified farming premises across the country, alongside illegally obtained footage. A thorough explanation of the Bill is available in theParliamentary Library’s Bills Digest. The final text of the Bill, including amendments to include forestry businesses, is on theHouse of Representatives website. APL General Manager Policy Deb Kerr also appeared at Warwick in Queensland at a public hearing into the Criminal Code (Trespass Offences) Amendment Bill 2019. The Committee heard from a range of affected producers and abattoirs on their experiences in relation to activism. Deb Kerr tabled the results of the 2018 Industry Survey questions relating to activism for the information of the Committee. Similar legislation protecting farmers has either been implemented or is being negotiated in every pig producing state other than Tasmania. APL is providing submissions and appearing in person at the inquiries when requested. Submissions that are provided to the inquiries are available on the APL website. The collective movement across the country in support of farming businesses is welcome news for producers that have been relentlessly targeted for many years. APL has made it clear that while changes to legislation and penalties is long overdue, it remains to be seen whether the new laws will be used effectively by the criminal justice system. APL is strongly encouraging all decision makers to use the new laws effectively so as to deter would-be activists from further farm invasions. African swine fever roundtable The threat of African Swine Fever to Australia prompted the Minister for Agriculture, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie to call an emergency roundtable of industry, chief veterinary officers, government and disease experts on the threat of AFS to the Australian pig herd. The event included an update on the international disease situation from Dr Mark Schipp, Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, an overview of Australia’s biosecurity by Dr Robyn Martin, Department of Agriculture (DoA), a trade panel discussion, with Malcolm Thompson (DoA), Simon Quilty and Jason Strong (MLA), a biosecurity panel discussion, with QLD Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Allison Crook, APL General Manager Deb Kerr, Caroline McGill (representing importers) and Dean Merrilees (DoA) and working groups then discussed the key issues for trade and biosecurity, with a facilitated discussion around the priorities. Some clear messages were that Australia’s ability to respond to an ASF incursion is good at the strategic level (i.e. the EADRA and AusVetPlans), reasonably well developed at the operational level (i.e. state response plans) but required additional work at the technical level (i.e. actually what will be done, by who etc). Similar to APL’s ASF Summit in Adelaide, clarity was critically needed in the various roles and responsibilities – along with sufficient resourcing – to ensure Australia’s capacity to respond is not compromised. There will be a national desktop exercise to test the veracity of Australia’s strategic capacity later in 2019 with an aim for a broader and more detailed exercise in 2020.



African Swine Fever – the new reality By PETER BEDWELL The recently reported news that African Swine Fever is present in East Timor has bought into sharp focus the problems this disease presents for the Australian pork industry. Since 2016 when the disease broke out in Europe and more recently in August 2018 when ASF started its rapid spread through China then SE Asian Countries, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Australia has been on high alert with increased vigilance at our points of entry. The amount of illegally imported pork meat product seized at both airports and sent through the mail is staggering and concerning. The core of the problem posing a threat to the biosecurity of our pork production, is that many visitors to Australia just don’t take our laws seriously. The fact that ASF does not affect humans also seems to encourage some travellers to regard carrying meat based products into Australia as having little relevance to them. Australia is not alone in dealing with illegal pork based imports. In March 2019, US authorities seized more than 50 container loads of illegal pork entering New York State disguised in shipments of ramen noodles. Rabobank, which has been closely monitoring the effects of the ASF outbreaks, particularly in China, identified some of the problems associated with a dramatic drop in local pork production which has left a serious protein deficiet of up to 10% of current consumption levels. With a global shortage of pork (China has lost over 200, million pigs or close to half their total annual production and the situation is getting worse), China is turning to imports to satisfy still growing demand for meat. Importing more pork, beef and chicken to fill the production gap has resulted in frozen meat stocks (mostly pork) being pushed out to consumers both domestically and into overseas markets. Pig meat that has been sent to processing facilities is supposed to have been tested for ASF and other diseases but the evidence, from illegal


samples intercepted in Australia, suggests that any testing process has been unreliable. Not only has ASF contamination been discovered in confiscated samples at Australian points of entry but also FMD. It would be reassuring to think that the spread of ASF in a rigidly controlled country like China could be quickly stamped out, however Rabobank’s protein analysts are much less optimistic. The fact that more than 40% of Chinese pork production takes place in small scale ‘back yard’ operations, makes imposing effective levels of biosecurity almost impossible. Contaminated processed product finds its way back into the food chain and ends up as swill feed to more back yard animals that are infected with ASF. The practice of drying feed crops on roads in China has been identified by US based researchers as yet another vector for the ASF virus as it can survive over long periods including sea voyages. When Pork Journal was in the US and Canada recently for the Alltech ONE19 Conference, in the pig industry presentations speakers Dr Gordon Spronk and Dr Jon De Jong, Directors from Pipestone Nutrition, spoke about ‘Feed mitigation is the next frontier in biosecurity’. Their research in China on the transmission of ASF in feed revealed the strength and complexity as well as the livability of the ASF virus. The fact that recently conducted research by Pipestone and Dr Megan Neiderwerder of Kansas State University into accepted emergent diseases indictes that ASF can be transmitted in both feed and drinking water. Senior Rabobank protein amalyst

experts Justin Sherrard and Dr Chenjun Pan question wether China can ever fully recover to pre-2018 production levels unless a vaccine is developed for this disease. Dr Chenjun Pan, who recently visited Australia, sees the red meat industry, in particular beef, as being a major beneficiary of the drastic cut in pork supply into the chinese market. She sees the appeal amongst the growing middle classes and very wealthy in China for beef as being aspirational and from Australia, safe. As for the potential for pork exports to China from Australia they are limited by a number of factors including cost, ability to supply large quantities of product and political considerations. Even though Canada has the ability to supply quality product at competitive prices, that country’s current disagreement over Huwaie issues (which also apply to Australia), China has chosen to deal with EU based suppliers. In the future, Australian pork, provided we stay free of ASF, could become competitive in low volume markets. The depressing aspect of the whole ASF epidemic is that it will, in the opinion of Rabobanks senior protein analysts, be a long time before China becomes free of the disease perhaps 10 years and certainly at least three to four. Attempts to repopulate farms that have been hit with ASF, then cleaned out and restocked, have met with very mixed results with outbreaks returning almost immediately. That will mean that our industry and point of entry infrastructure will have to remain on high levels of alert for a prolonged period. However the rewards for keeping our industry ASF free could be not only higher, but more stable, returns for growers.

To advertise in Pork Journal Magazine please call Pete Bedwell on 0419 235 288 or 02 97972406. Email: primarymedia@bigpond.com Website: www.primarymedia.com.au


Dangers of relocating China’s pig industry An international group of agriculture and environmental scientists warn that the Chinese Government’s desire to relocate its pig industry from the South, in order to protect water quality could have unintended detrimental consequences. In 2015 the Chinese Government banned livestock production in some regions to control surface water pollution near vulnerable water bodies. This has reduced the availability of pork at a period when consumption is forecast to increase from 690 to 1,000 million head per year between 2018-50. It is expected that pig production will move to the southwest and northeast provinces, where more land is available for pig production. But the scientists warn that this could cause the transfer of pollution to new regions, where there are large areas of forest and fragile natural grasslands. The authors raise concerns that the

appropriate technologies may not also be transferred to the new production areas due to lack of investment and incentives. They suggest that costs to the citizens from air pollution would balance out any profit from pig production. Conclusion “We must consider the multiple risks to the environment, including surface water pollution, air pollution, soil degradation and threats to human health, but crucially also the risks associated with long-distance transport of livestock, including the spread of animal diseases.” Dave Chadwick, one of the coauthors is a Professor of Sustainable Land Use Systems at Bangor University, and also co-leads a new research group in the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Agriculture Green Development in the Yangtze River Basin, in Southwest University (Chongqing, China). “Whilst there is an urgent need to

relocate pigs from southern provinces to protect vulnerable watercourses, the new potential development regions have large areas of forests and fragile natural grasslands that would suffer from nitrogen deposition and diffuse water pollution from the new facilities. “Investments and incentives for technology to manage manure and minimize ammonia emission don’t appear to have followed the new production systems in these areas. “So, whilst this policy may seem attractive in the first instance, including boosting the economy of these lessdeveloped regions, the wider costs of this transition have not been considered fully. “We recommend that these unintended consequences could be addressed through improved spatial planning, adopting strategies to properly allocate manure to local cropping systems, and promotion of pollution mitigation technologies,” he said.

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Managing the hidden challenges to Australian pork production An array of industry experts covered a range of topics at the ‘Managing the hidden challenges to Pork Production’ Conference in Toowoomba on Friday September 6, 2019. The event was organised by the Queensland Pig Consultancy Group (QPCG) and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) with support from Australian Pork Limited. Around 90 delegates, representing a range of industry sectors, attended the conference to listen to nine speakers who shared their knowledge and experiences. The program centred around the social concerns facing the industry including those related to animal welfare, work health and safety, social responsibility and human resource management. The day brought together producers, service industry personnel and APL experts. The keynote speaker at the conference was rugby league legend and Queensland Safety Ambassador, Shane Webcke. Shane shared his personal story on ‘Playing it safe’ to help drive home the powerful message of work safe, home safe. Shane’s commitment to safety came after the death of his father in a workplace accident. “I lost my dad to a workplace injury, so I know first-hand that family and loved ones are the most important reason for work safety,” Webcke said. “I really try hard to connect with workers and hopefully they understand just how important it is to stay safe at work and create a strong safety culture. “It’s not just the bosses who have to buy in – all of us need to play it safe at work. “Take your time, don’t rush or take shortcuts or use the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude, think about what effect your actions will have not only on you or your colleagues, but your loved ones.” WHSQ representatives Greg Vincent and Bill Lewis discussed the importance of getting serious with farm safety. Greg and Bill outlined their roles with industry and businesses in assisting them to understand their responsibilities. The benefits of managing WH&S include less business disruption, lower running costs, increased productivity and quality, better worker morale,


retention of trained staff and enhanced business reputation. Critical to developing a good workplace culture is getting workers involved in developing and taking ownership of the WH&S program. Dr Heather Channon spoke about the Rural Safety and Health Alliance (RSHA), and APL’s involvement with the alliance on behalf of pig producers. The RDCs involved in the RSHA are aiming to make workplaces safer through investment in RD&E. More information about the Alliance can be found at https://www.rsha.com.au/ Paul Maguire of Mag Farming spoke about the challenges he, his family and staff have faced over the past few years due to activist raids and how they have dealt with being targeted. Paul described the impact that these raids have had on their business, particularly capital expenditure required to enhance security during an already difficult time for the industry, bruised public perceptions due to social media, and compromised security and welfare of their staff. He stated that for security and surveillance on farm, security fencing and cameras will become a necessity. Paul stated that it is important that all producers focus on well managed intensive operations which will display high animal welfare standards. Improving welfare on farm is an ongoing concern. Producers are responsible to manage all that they can control. There should be in place continuous improvement programs and staff training to make a sustainable environment for stock and people. As President of Pork Qld Inc, John Coward declared himself an advocate for the pork industry, speaking to the government on their behalf. John spoke about the rules and regulations associated with earning the right to farm. Many of these regulations require that the property is registered, licensed, approved and audited. “Stock welfare is important, and producers must invest time and money to get it right,” he said, “As a producer it is important to think about disease and traffic on your farm. Biosecurity is a very, very important




1. Shane Webcke, Qld Safety Ambassador. 2. Dr Heather Shannon, APL. 3. Paul Maguire, Mag Farming.

NEWS that agriculture has changed, but the producers ‘commitment to do the right thing has never been stronger’. “Transparency is not an option, it is now a necessity. Farmers need to speak to community groups, the public and schools.” Dr Regina Fogarty, Veterinarian at Rivalea, Victoria, reminded those present that with African Swine Fever continuing its spread across Europe and Asia, the role of industry in keeping the virus out of the national herd becomes John Coward, President of Pork more pressing. “There have been a number of w Qeensland Inc.



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concept. It is important to make sure the farm is a registered biosecurity entity with biosecurity Queensland. It is necessary to have this registration in place in case of a farm trespass,” he said. “Producers should also make sure they have signage and have an up to date and active biosecurity management plan. “Both APL and Biosecurity Queensland have procedures to assist with trespass and should be accessed by producers.” John said it is essential to ensure good stock welfare, screen new staff carefully, and for producers to respond calmly and make sure to record everything they can in the event that they are targeted by activist activity. He also mentioned keeping gates shut at all entry points, making sure they are locked and secure when staff are not present, keeping records including audits and staff training for future reference. Prevention is much better than control! Greg Mills, GoAhead Business Solutions, presented ‘Building Trust – Telling the pork producers story’ which created considerable interest. Greg shared his experiences of being directly involved in the development of strategies to build trust in farmers and food. Working across several agricultural industries, Greg’s focus is on helping business owners, primary producers, industry organisations and young people in agriculture and community groups build a future in agriculture. In discussing social licence, Greg defined it as the privilege of operating with minimal formalised restrictions based on maintaining public trust by doing what is right and public trust as the belief that activities are consistent with social expectations and the values of the community and other stakeholders. Greg discussed how the agricultural community often fails to distinguish between ‘should’ questions and ‘can’ questions. “Answering questions appropriately increases consumer confidence, which is a significant driver of trust,” he said. Greg stated that in today’s world it was necessary to demonstrate that you are the right person to be a producer and to be socially acceptable. “Consumer trust is driven by shared values. Trust in information sources is very important. People like farmers but they are just not sure that they agree with how farming is carried out.” In closing, Greg reminded delegates



positive initiatives and activities put in place ensuring that pigs (including feral pigs), pig meat products, unnecessary people, contaminated trucks and equipment, do not put our herds at risk,” she said. “These protocols still need to be assessed and enforced on each and every farm on a daily basis. “Every member of the industry including the servicing industry needs to play a part in helping pig producers to ‘maintain the rage’, in providing advice and supporting risk assessments. “The most regular visitors to piggeries are the feed truck driver and the truck driver collecting pigs for sale. They need to be equipped to play a role in promoting disease prevention protocols.” Regina said a key area whereby QPCG members can support industry is in working through the impacts of a detection in Australia whether in feral or commercial pig populations. An area of real concern is the small herds kept by parttime or hobby farmers. QPCG members are well placed and well qualified to assist all pig keepers, some of whom might

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1. Left: Greg Mills, GoAhead Business Solutions spoke about building trust in farmers and food.

Right: Greg Vincent, Operations Manager Toowoomba Workplace Health & Safety have just a couple of growers, in developing biosecurity plans. This includes working through with the farm owner or manager how the likely government response programs will impact on them as individual’s enterprises and what can be done to manage those impacts. “While the basics of control programs are known, industry needs to be talking to government to make sure they are aware of the impact disease outbreak has on the industry and to ensure the most effective and efficient programs are being planned and implemented.” Andrew Robertson, APL, updated the group on anti-dumping and trade remedies that were raised at the QPCG Industry Day in 2018. Along with the National Farmers Federation, APL had requested a review of Australia’s anti-dumping regulations in 2018 to be conducted by the International Trade Remedies Forum (ITRF). When this was unsuccessful, APL’s then-CEO Andrew Spencer wrote to the Anti-Dumping Commissioner, Mr Dale Seymour, requesting to join the ITRF as a full member in March 2019. As a member of the ITRF, APL would be better able to initiate a review. However, no response was received from Mr Seymour or the Commission until late August 2019 when APL learned that officials were still considering industry’s request, and would be making recommendations to the Minister on the makeup of the ITRF by December 2019. Kylie Lee, from TAFE Queensland, brought the meeting up to date on developments in training programs for the pork industry. Kylie’s team is currently researching and investigating new training products which will be offered at the new Rural Centre of Excellence in Toowoomba. The courses on offer are nationally recognised and now include Certificate 3 in Pork Production. Diploma courses are also under consideration. The aim is to provide what the industry needs and requires for those working in agriculture and pork production. There are two sources of funding that can assist with costs of training. Please email: Kylie.lee@tafe.qld.edu.aufor more information.


Nedap Activator offers demand-driven feeding for lactating sows To help producers meet the unique nutritional needs of lactating sows, Nedap Livestock Management has introduced Nedap Activator, an add-on to Nedap Farrowing Feeding that automatically drops feed when sows trigger an electronic sensor with their snouts. “Nedap Farrowing Feeding with wireless Activator gives producers more control to monitor and maximise feed intake during lactation with minimal labor,” said Cheryl Day, Vice President of business developmentNorth America, Nedap Livestock Management. “The optional wireless Activator add-on offers a high return on investment by helping pork producers reduce operational costs and boost sow and piglet performance through strategic feeding.” The Nedap Farrowing Feeder automatically delivers snack-sized feed portions to sows at regular intervals throughout the day to stimulate the appetite. Between scheduled feedings, the add-on enables sows to ‘ask’ for additional appetiser-sized portions by moving the trigger with their snout. Producers can easily mount the wireless Activator to feeders in new or existing farrowing feeding automatic feeding systems. Nedap Activator maximises return on investment by firstly improving sow performance. Nutrient requirements for sows are three times higher during lactation. Nedap Activator can increase overall feed intake through demand-driven feeding to promote faster farrowing recovery while supporting body condition score (BCS). Benefits include shorter farrow-to-breed intervals, quicker rebreeding and less early culling. Secondly, labor costs can be a burden for pork producers. The wireless Activator can reduce farrowing barn labor in multiple ways. It automatically sends an alert if no feeding activity is detected for a predetermined period. Barn managers get to know exactly which sows need attention without manual feeder checks. This allows them to focus their time where they are needed most. The demand-driven feeding requires less time to clean stale feed and manually drop feed. For Nedap customers, reducing

labor time in farrowing has saved $28 per sow per year. For 1,000 sows, that’s $28,000 per year in labor savings. Thirdly its about increasing feed efficiency. The Activator can reduce feed costs, which account for 65-70% of pork production costs. Small, demand-driven portions can avoid waste and unpalatable feed in the feeder. It is installed at the bottom of the feeder and can’t be triggered when covered by feed. Also the Activator provides feed intake data and enables producers to adjust feed rations and delivery rates to promote efficiency. Finally it boosts piglet performance. Because the Activator stimulates appetite and maximises the sow’s feed intake through increased feeding frequency, customers report more consistent and greater milk yields from sows. The result? Customers report a 50% reduction in farrowing pen mortality and up to 1.65 pounds of additional weight per piglet at weaning. “The Nedap Activator has perfected demand-driven feeding for lactating sows,” said Ms Day. “Demand-driven feeding can help sows recover from farrowing faster, support BCS and promote reproductive health and rebreeding. Producers can

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WAPPA Industry Day 2019 The Western Australian Pork Producers Association Inc recently held its 2019 WAPPA Industry Day in September. Alan Langford, Chief Economist, Bankwest spoke about ‘The outlook for the global economy and what it means for Australian commodities’. “The ABARES forecast is predicting that the AUD will remain competitive in the market. We have seen that to remain competitive in the export market, there must be adjustments made to the dollar value, especially against China currency,” he said. Alan noted that the iron ore price is usually an indicator of the AUD value. “Until now they have not been in sync. In WA the iron ore price is important for the state government regarding the budget and economy. “As Brazil gets back online, the iron ore price will begin to decline and already has. “What will affect the Australian rural sector further? As China releases additional tariffs to the USA, the rural sector could be affected. The negative impact on Australia from these tariffs has been yet to be seen. “The AUD is to potentially get weaker against the USD, especially considering the trade tensions. ‘Effects of snout cooling on hut occupancy and stillbirths in free range systems’ was the topic presented by Dr Megan Trezona, R&D Manager, Linley Valley Pork. “This project was sponsored by PIWA Free Range project (Pork Innovation WA) focusing on early lactation hut occupation of the sow,” she said. “Addressing heat stress is important as it definitely affects milk production. Unfortunately during warm periods, sows are exiting the hut to seek a more comfortable environment. This may be reducing feeding opportunities for piglets. “This study about how sows are affected by heat, considered the upper critical temperature (UCT) where past this point they cannot manage their rising body temperature. “For a 180kg lactating sow the UCT is 27C. In free range this may be lower for the sow, due to straw in the hut versus farrow crate where the cool floor will assist. Temperature data from the hut shows that for 50% of the days the hut is 27C. So, for 50% of the days the daily


maximum temperature is exceeded. “To provide some relief from high temperatures the study focused on using a snout cooling system. “Would a source of cool air allow the sow to remaining the hut for a longer period of time, especially during early lactation?” Megan asked. They organised eleven huts for the trial, four with added snout cooling and video monitoring. For this trial, they had to build custom models for the cooling units. The ‘snout lets’ were in a position where the sows head could lay providing some cool air. The ‘snout lets’ were placed toward the front of the hut with the sows head facing toward the door. When Megan went through these initial trial results, it was seen that there was no difference in total number born or born alive. The amount of time spent in the snout cooled huts with no effect on suckling periods. They are now organising a larger scale trial. The next topic was ‘Single diet - the last tour!’ presented by Dr Karen Moore, Research Consultant, CLM Consulting. Karen has an amazing amount of data on the single diet trials conducted in WA. A single diet is feeding the same diet throughout the grower finisher period instead of the traditional phase feeding. “The concept is that the pigs should compensate during the later periods over time, making up for the lower specification of the diets in the grower phase,” she said. “The theory is that even though deficient initially, later the growth will catch up – 101kg live weight is the typical goal weight going to the abattoir. When looking at the trial work, there was no significant difference in growth performance in the initial 2008 results. In the next round of trials, the commercial environment in 2011, the diet was fed from 25 kgs to slaughter. Unfortunately, in this diet the lysine concentration was insufficient when compared to the current standard. The lysine requirement was 10% higher than what was used in the diets. There was still no significant difference between phase feeding and one single diet. In 2014 with the higher lysine (lysine corrected), again there was no difference between the phase feeding and single diets. Karen noted that it is much cheaper

2 3


1. Ingunn Stensland, Murdoch Iniversity. 2. Megan Trezona, R&D Manager, Linley Valley Pork. 3. Dr Karen Moore, CLM Consulting. 4. Emalyn Loudon, PIWA.

NEWS to feed the single diet. Just to be sure, a another trial was conducted in 2018. The 2018-19 trial again proved the same point. There was no difference in the grower/finisher stage using either type of diets. The questions remaining are that if grown to heavier LW, what is the best target live weight? What happens in a commercial environment and in real production? This information is for producers to consider. ‘Antimicrobial resistance and measuring antibiotic use’ was the topic for Dr Diana Turpin, Lecturer in Animal production and Sciences Murdoch University. “Resistant bacteria have always been around but has the use of these antibiotics assisted in the growth of this resistant bacteria. “Resistance can occur in two ways – mutation from exposure and the trading of genes with bacteria that are already resistant. “AMR in humans is now considered a global health crisis. The use of antibiotics in animals’ contribution to this remains highly uncertain. “Australia is generally seen as a conservative country in that it has not registered for use in food animals certain essential human medicine antibiotics. “Unfortunately, in animal production, there is currently no measurement of antibiotic use in Australia and we need to rectify that. “There are increasing pressures from national agencies requesting use information. From an international perspective, currently other countries are measuring sales data, end user measurements (where used on farm), and supporting producer driven programs from farm level. “As a starting point in Australia PIWA has measured use on three farms in WA. Water, injectable and in-feed were measured to show the grams of active ingredient per head. The next topic was ‘Reducing zinc oxide use in weaner diets via the inclusion of phytase’ presented by Ms Ingunn Stensland, PhD Candidate, Murdoch University. Ingunn focused in this trial on high doses of phytase to decrease zinc oxide (ZnO). “In production and in trials we know that ZnO has a positive effect on gut strength and function. “The percentage of pigs with diarrhea is certainly reduced with the use of ZnO and gram negative bacteria such as Ecoli is directly affected by the

use of ZnO. “To prevent post weaning diarrhea many producers and nutritionists rely on the addition of ZnO in rations. “It is a cost-effective feed additive that has proven to be sucessful. In this trial, Ingunn is using phytase to increase zinc solubility to increase IAP expression because in many countries the use of ZnO is being banned and becoming a focus in regard to environmental contamination. “One possible solution would be the use of phytase to increase zinc solubility. Phytase is typically used to increase phosphorus availability. “But can it increase zinc solubility and hence IAP expression. The first experiment did show that the addition of phytase to weaner diets will increase solubility of Zn. Ingunn said further work in this area is being conducted. Sam Sterndale next gave a ‘Summary of 2019/20 APC-funded research projects’. “Several projects have been approved for funding by APC. One is Black Soldier fly with the aim to partially substitute soybean meal and maybe even the reduction of ZnO in diets. The second is the precision farming, weight detect, and enviro detect machinery both being validated in commercial settings. ‘Vision for APL and the Australian pork industry’ was presented by Margo

Andrae, CEO APL. This is the first six weeks in her new position, joining APL on August 1. Margo began by covering the past strategic planning. “Five years ago, the industry was just listed as ‘were going ok’ but what in the cycle is affecting producers and what is next? “APL has been advertising through multiple channels to increase pork consumption and sales and this promotion has largely been successful, giving us, as an industry, time to make good decisions, including our strategic plan.” Margo asked producers, should the industry be sharing its successes? “How do we tell the story better and protect producers?” “Here is an opportunity to be ‘bold’ for the pork industry,” she said. “Developing a strategic plan is an opportunity to think strategically and think ‘bold’. We need to think about what types of aspirations the industry should have and where our food is going to come from in abut 30 years time. “October is the date for forums to discuss the industry strategic plan and APL is here for producers and to service the pork industry.” Margo stated that APL is working hard with producers to support R&D, policy and marketing, but needs producers’ feedback.

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African Swine Fever and the role of insects in its transmission to pigs By JAFAR PAZANI, Technical Manager, MedirAlis Pty Ltd African Swine Fever (ASF) has proven able to spread rapidly across borders and over long distances. ASF virus can be transmitted through direct contact with infected pigs or by indirect contact through fomite and mechanical vectors including feed, bedding, equipment, clothing, footwear, vehicles and/or pests including insects contaminated by blood, faeces, urine or saliva from infected pigs. It can be transmitted by consumption of the pork meat from infected pigs and also by the bites of infected ticks from argasid family or soft ticks (Ornithodoros spp.). Border protection and biosecurity management would be the only ways to protect the Australian pig industry against African Swine Fever. This is also explained by The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE): “Prevention in countries free of the disease depends on stringent import policies, ensuring that neither infected live pigs nor pork products are introduced into areas free of ASF.” In any unfortunate case of outbreak, the successful eradication programs would involve rapid diagnosis, slaughter and disposal of all affected animals on infected premises, thorough cleaning and disinfection, disinsectisation (removing insects), movement controls and surveillance. ASF virus is a member of arboviruses which stands for “Arthropod Born Viruses”. It is the only DNA virus in arbovirus category. This means that the virus can be carried and transmitted by arthropods. Many species of ticks in Ornithodoros genus can be infected by ASF virus. In studies conducted in Madagascar and Portugal, ASF virus was isolated from ticks found on farms where no pigs had been kept for four or more years. This is serious knowing that eradication of ticks from old piggeries is almost impossible due to the ticks long life and ability to survive for a long time without feeding. Stable flies were shown to be able to transmit ASF virus after 24 hours of feeding on the infected pigs in experi-


mental conditions. Sofie Olesen et al, National Veterinary Institute in Technical University of Denmark, in their study for finding an explanation for unexpected transmission of ASF virus into the pig facilities with high biosecurity standards, indicated that pigs ingesting stable flies of Stomoxys calcitrans fed on ASFVspiked blood became infected with the virus. Other blood sucking insects including mosquitoes and biting flies may transmit ASF virus mechanically. Bloodfeeding flies from family Tabanidae have been considered as a suspicious transmitting vector. The risk posed by insects is much more serious in free range farms; especially organic types with restricted choice of insect control products. Pest control is a significant area in biosecurity management. In the case of ASF the role of insects and arthropods can’t be understated. It is indicated that arthropods with flying ability including biting flies and mosquitoes can carry and transmit the virus. The ability of insects to reproduce in large number makes it harder to control them especially in swine farms where they can easily access faeces (flies) and static water ponds (mosquitoes). Nor-Mite in the Nor-feed range can be considered as a very potent insect repellent to be included in pest management in pig farms’ biosecurity plans. Usage of Nor-Mite has a very low labour and application cost, as it is either added to the water in liquid form or into feed in powder form. Nor-Mite liquid is highly soluble in water and can be used either by being added to header tanks or dispensed to water by a suitable accurate dosing machine.

Nor-Mite is an herbal product which is also approved to be used for use in organic farming in many countries. By using Nor-Mite the herbal metabolites in it (polyphenols and triterpenes) pass into the pig faeces and urine; and hence all the animals and the farm will have the repellent effects. The powder form contributes to repelling dust mites and weevils from feed too. Nor-Mite has proven its high potency in contributing efficiently to repelling numerous types of insects including some fly species, mosquitoes and several acarida and litter beetles. Nor-Mite a non-chemical, organic and cost-effective way to control insect infestation in pig farms “To read a more detailed version of this editorial please go to the Think Livestock Web Site at: www.thinklivestock.com.au, and click on its topic.”

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Animal Health Australia welcomes new Chair Animal Health Australia (AHA) has announced the appointment of Ms Sharon Starick as the incoming Chair, elected by the AHA board directors at their board meeting held in Adelaide reently. Ms Starick’s appointment will take effect from November 2019 at the Annual General Meeting, at which time current Chairman Mr Peter Milne AM will officially vacate his Director position. Ms Starick has been an AHA Board Director since 2010 and has extensive knowledge of AHA and the animal health and biosecurity system. She is an experienced Chair and director across a range of agricultural and rural organisations. This, combined with her experience as a grain and pig farmer in South Australia, have Ms Starick ideally placed to lead AHA into a new era as it prepares for its next phase to be an outstanding advocate and change agent for biosecurity. “With increasing pressure on our biosecurity system, changing consumer expectations and the impacts of climate change, we’re heading into a critical time for the Australian agriculture sector,” said Ms Starick. “My mandate as Chair is to actively build on our already strong relationships with government, industry and the wider agricultural sector to address these issues for the benefit of the Australian animal health system.” As a farmer Sharon is well aware of the challenges impacting the sector and is looking forward to tackling these alongside her Board, AHA staff and its members. Ms Starick replaces outgoing Chair, Mr Peter Milne AM. Mr Milne has held the position of Chair since 2011 and is AHA’s longest serving Chair and Board Director. Mr Milne’s outstanding service to AHA and the wider agriculture community will be acknowledged at the AGM. “It’s such an honour to take on the role of AHA Chair and even more so to follow in the footsteps of Peter,” said Ms Starick. “I’ve had the privilege of serving on the Board with Peter for the past nine years and his leadership and vision have ensured I will be taking on the reins of an already high-performing Board and an organisation with a clear strategic direction.” Mr Milne strongly endorses Ms Starick’s appointment and welcomes

her to the position of Chair. “In my time as Chair, Sharon’s dual expertise as a farmer and astute businessperson has always shone brightly. “I know she will continue to be an outstanding advocate for our industry. And as the first female chair of AHA I see this as a further step towards greater female representation within the agriculture sector,” said Mr Milne AM. Mr Milne will work closely with Ms Starick in the remaining months to ensure an effective transition and continuity for the Board, organisation and for AHA’s members. Since 1993, Sharon and her husband have been producing grain and pork in the Mallee region of South Australia. Her extensive knowledge of sustainable primary production was developed through her own on-farm practices and past participation in Mallee Sustainable Farming and the South Australian No-Till Farmers Association. She also has a passion for natural resource management and conservation that is reflected in her past involvement as Chair of the South Australian Murray–Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board and as a member of South Australia’s Natural Resources Management Council, the Australian Landcare Council and the Community Advisory Committee for

Sharon Starick new Chair of AHA the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council. As a past director of Land & Water Australia, Sharon has experience in strategic planning for research and extension. AHA works in partnership with members and other stakeholders to keep Australia free of new and emerging diseases and to improve animal health, enhance market access and foster resilience and integrity of the Australian animal health system.

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Call to reduce feral pig numbers in Australia There needs to be a nationally coordinated cull to reduce Australia’s 24 million feral pigs, according to the National Farmers’ Federation. Farmers and lobby groups have long wanted government to do more to APSA_Advert_2019_April.pdf 3:58:49 PM reduce feral pig numbers, but1it01-Apr-19 has now

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become a critical issue because of the threat of African Swine Fever (ASF). Analysts believe one quarter of the world’s more than 800 million pigs have already been killed as a result of ASF. In Australia, the veterinary community believes the virus could be spread widely by feral pigs if the disease got past border control. NFF wants immediate cull The National Farmers’ Federation wants all three levels of government to develop a culling program. Chief executive Tony Mahar said the threat of ASF could not be overstated. “The spread of ASF to Australia has the potential to decimate our commercial pork industry and the livelihoods of farming families and the communities they contribute to,” he said. He said the culling program needed to be “a comprehensive response on private and public land” with “incentives or some sort of assistance to make sure farmers can help with control”. Pig producer welcomes cull call Edwina Beveridge, (pictured right) who farms pigs at Young in south-west New South Wales, said ASF had the entire pork industry on edge. “I think everyone’s pretty terrified at the moment and … probably the most terrifying thing is getting it in our feral pigs because we may never get it out,” she said. “I think a cull of the feral pig population would be absolute magic, on so many levels, not just for ASF but also because they’re such a pest.” Ms Beveridge said a cull would become much more difficult if it was attempted after ASF arrived. “If we get ASF in our feral pigs,

then you have to pick up the feral pig. If you go and cull them now, they can be shot and left, so doing it now makes so much sense,” she said. Ms Beveridge welcomed the government’s response to date, including the deportation of a Vietnamese woman who attempted to bring prohibited pork products through Sydney Airport. “There are lots of good things that are happening, and I’m really pleased that the silly person who brought four kilos of pork into the country was sent back,” she said. Sporting shooters offer their support Australia’s peak recreational shooting body said it would be willing to support a national feral pig cull, if the program was adequately resourced and coordinated. The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia has 200,000 members, including many who take part in recreational hunting. The president of the Queensland Conservation and Wildlife Management Division of Sporting Shooters, Damien

NEWS Ferguson, said the organisation would happily be part of a culling program. “There are a lot of people who would be prepared to go out there, but they have jobs and businesses to run so it depends what resources the government is prepared to put toward it,” he said. “Some area trapping would be OK, baiting would be beneficial, and then aerial shooting as well, so it would be a coordinated effort depending on the area.” Mr Ferguson said some communities had already been successful at controlling feral pigs. “In areas where farmers all get together and chip in, they have a good result,” he said. They never get down to zero pigs, so it’s just a matter of getting numbers down to a level that isn’t having a massive impact.”

Oink: The pig book that makes a perfect present A new book, recently released is called ‘Oink’, which is a fabulous book of pig photography and quotes from their fans. “Renee Hollis is an author and photographer, and her love of pigs began when a litter of piglets was born on her birthday and one of them was

Veterinary, biosecurity officers making preparations Simulations are being run around Australia to predict how ASF would spread if it entered the country. NSW chief veterinary officer Sarah Britton said Australia was relatively well placed to tackle ASF. “I think we’re doing well. We’ve actually got a lead time, which we don’t normally get with diseases,” she said. “Certainly it is a concern if it gets into the feral pig population because it would be very difficult to control if that happened.” Impacts upon other industries Other livestock groups are concerned about how they would be affected if ASF spread. Ashley Manicaros, the chief Executive of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, said the cattle industry would also suffer. “The problem for us in the cattle industry is what happens if there is an outbreak here and what are the restrictions that would be put on the transport of livestock,” he said. “It’s the additional cost and time delays that will be associated with that livestock movement, and of course our trading partners and what their reaction will be to the fact ASF is around.” He welcomed calls for a feral pig cull, but said there also needed to be more focus on biosecurity controls. “There’s no substantial wash bay facility anywhere in the Northern Territory … so we need that type of infrastructure,” he said. “That all fits into the proactive insulation component of being able to deal with ASF.”

named after her. Now, her book ‘Oink’ has been published “as a tribute to these amazing creatures,” information from the book’s publisher’s Exisle Publishing states. “Oink is the perfect gift for anyone who has fallen under a pig’s spell. “Featuring memorable quotes from famous people such as Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, John Howard and Shelley Duvall, this is a book guaranteed to make you smile. Contact Alison Worrad (Alison@ exislepublishing.com) (02) 49 983 327 or 0404 158 096 for more details. The recommended retail price is $29.99. ‘Oink’ features beautiful photography and memorable quotes from famous pig lovers.

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Stronger penalties for biosecurity breaches With the spread of ASF into new countries, a sampling and testing program for ASF in goods surrendered or seized from passengers, or found in mail parcels, was introduced in late 2018. This will assist to monitor the risk of ASF entering Australia through food products. Using genetic testing technology, samples can be readily tested for evidence of ASF and other viruses like FMD. The CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) tested samples of pork products taken from airline passengers and from mail centres for ASF virus in late 2018 and early 2019. The samples were collected in Melbourne and Sydney. In late 2018, 6 out of 152 samples contained ASF virus fragments. For the second period, in early February 2019, 40 out of 283 contained ASF virus fragments. Another round of testing of pork products seized between September 2 to 15 2019 was held. The test results reinforce the

importance complying with Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements. A stronger enforcement approach to biosecurity infringements has been adopted and will be focusing on pork and other meat products. The penalties issued to passengers reflect the seriousness of the breach. Passengers will be target who provide false or misleading information or who produce false or misleading documents (such as an Incoming Passenger Card). The majority of travellers do the right thing and accurately declare what they have brought into the country.

Travellers who provide false or misleading information could receive an infringement notice with a penalty amount of $420 or be referred for civil penalty proceedings or criminal prosecution. Under recent changes to Australian migration law, international passengers who breach the Biosecurity Act 2015 by failing to declare high-risk biosecurity items could also have their visitor visa cancelled. If the person’s visa is cancelled, they are refused entry to Australia and cannot generally apply for another visa for three years.

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