THE progress in reproduction achieved by Australian pork producers has been impressive, but with improved genetics the results could see them as one of the world’s best, according to Pork CRC’s benchmarking results for 2016-17.
Pork CRC chief executive Roger Campbell said he was delighted with the progress of the industry which was highlighted at the Benchmarking Project meeting in Melbourne last week.
“We now have Australian herds exceeding 11 weaned per litter and 26-plus weaned per mated female, per year,” Mr Campbell said.
“The trends in born alive, number weaned and weaned per mated sow, per year have also been very positive over the past six to seven years, with individual herds achieving exceptional improvement year on year.”
The Benchmarking Project started 10 years ago at a time when the majority of Australia’s pork producers, even those achieving commendable productivity levels, did not know how they compared with their competitors locally and overseas.
“Pork CRC’s Benchmarking Project has informed members and industry on where we sit globally and, importantly, how we compare to each other,” Mr Campbell said.
“Non-members can use the figures to compare their performance with some of the best and in many cases identify what areas need to improve.
“I think the information is critical for the industry and the project has been so successful it is likely to be carried on by Australian Pork Limited in 2018.”
Pork CRC also has an essential participant in the CRC’s High Integrity Australian Pork program in New Zealand’s peak body, NZ Pork.
One of the NZ Pork members achieved 30 piglets born per sow, per year – which has given producers a target to aim for.
The overall NZ result in the Benchmarking Project revealed that they increased born alive figures by two piglets over the past eight years – with an indoor average of 13.1 and an outdoor average of 12.8.
“While this sets a pretty high bar for Australian producers, we’re reminded that the Kiwis use genetics from Europe and the USA, so are probably seeing the advantages of genomic technology used by most international genetic companies,” Mr Campbell said.
“There are lessons to be learned from the NZ industry and that’s what benchmarking is all about, and their born alive and weaned per sow are the targets we need to achieve.
“We have a couple of herds in Pork CRC’s Benchmarking Project with born alive above 13 and weaning 11-plus piglets per litter, so they are closing in on where we need to be.
“This all suggests we have the genetics and know how to reach 26 to 28 pigs weaned per sow, per year.
“We just need to get everyone at this level and we’ll likely have to make further improvements through means other than importing superior genetics.
“However, as one participant at the benchmarking meeting said, all the signs are that it may not be too long before we are the best in the world.”
Mr Campbell said WA had two herds participating in the program and their results lined up with other producers across Australia.