The Western Australian (WA) pork industry comprises 12% of the national pig herd worth approximately $130 million at the farm gate and employing some 1 500 people along the supply chain. The majority of product is used as fresh pork for the domestic market, with 20% exported to Singapore. The industry capitalises on the strong availability of feed grains (barley, wheat and lupins), and while the majority of pigs are housed indoors, there is a growing proportion reared under extensive and straw-based systems.
In line with national and international trends, there is a continual consolidation of the industry with an increasing number of pigs now being grown under contract with the processing sector. The priority for the industry is to reduce the cost of production whilst improving product quality to meet the demand for premium pork products both locally and in many Asian countries. The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia supports the industry in achieving this by conducting research activities in partnership with WA universities and private industry.
The department's Pork Innovation Group is involved in research in a variety of areas including nutrition, carcass quality, meat quality, improving the post weaning growth check, environment and housing.