First pigs arrive at skills centre

30 Aug, 2000 03:05 PM
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PIGS have arrived to stock the million-dollar WA Pig Skills Centre at Muresk Institute of Agriculture, Northam. Two truck loads of F1 (Large White/Landrace) gilts and boars from PIC (Pig Improvement Company) Australia's "Martup Hills" Duranillin farm arrived on Thursday, August 24, and quickly made themselves at home in the new straw-based eco-shelters and enclosed units. Acting centre manager for the WA College of Agriculture, WA Pork Producers' Association (WAPPA) immediate past president Jon Bradshaw, Tambellup, said the five to six-month-old pigs had arrived in good condition and looked "ready to work". Mating begins in three weeks. PIC area sales manager Phil Stanaitis said the contract to stock the centre, ultimately with 240 sows by next January, would provide a good opportunity to see PIC's genotype performing to its maximum. "The centre is world class and, with an experienced manager such as Jon, all should be in order to maximise production and yields," Mr Stanaitis said. Mr Bradshaw said the centre's growers would be fed an ad-lib, pre-mix diet, supplied under contract by stockfeed manufacturer Wesfeeds. They would later be processed by PIC and its Wooroloo domestic works, which is owned by the Craig Mostyn Group. "These pigs are selected to perform under maximum feed," he said. A past president of Education WA's Combined Agricultural Schools Trust and still an active member of its state advisory council, Mr Bradshaw said the trust wanted students to receive the obvious benefits of working and studying in an environment of world's best practice. At 21 days, weaners from Muresk will be grown out in straw-based eco-shelters at WA College of Agriculture campuses at Narrogin, Harvey and Gnowangerup. "The centre will be run along strictly commercial lines, with an emphasis on excellence, accountability and profitability," Mr Bradshaw said. The 240-sow centre comprises a fully environmentally controlled farrowing facility, with 36 sows batch farrowed every four weeks (in five groups), and dry sow facility. Sows and gilts, when confirmed pregnant at 28-35 days, will move into straw-based group housing. WA Pig Industry Technical Education Centre (WAPITEC), with representatives from WAPPA, Muresk, Agwest and Education WA, will conduct training at the centre. WAPPA president, Chris Keene said the centre would attract the calibre of staff the industry needed to service the needs of very discerning domestic and export markets. "The commissioning and building of the WA Pig Skills Centre is one of the most visionary moves WAPPA and the industry has ever made," Mr Keene said.

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