Pigs

The Western Australian pork industry comprises 12% of the national pig herd worth approximately $130 million at the farm gate and employing some 1500 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 Primary Industries and Regional Development 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.

Articles

  • Salt poisoning or water deprivation in pigs can cause severe health problems, and in some cases it can become fatal.

  • Water is the most important nutrient for pigs. We often think about nutrients as only pig feed: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins.

  • Some pig owners may not be aware that feeding meat and meat products to pigs is illegal in Australia because it could introduce devastating diseases to pigs and other livestock.

  • Australian sweet lupins (Lupinus angustifolius L.) are currently utilised as a valuable protein source in pig diets.

  • Pigs are much more sensitive to heat than other animals so during periods of hot weather it is important to look at ways to reduce heat stress.

  • Mycotoxins are secondary toxic chemical products produced by organisms of fungal origin.

  • There are a number of factors that may contribute to pigs having high backfat (P2) and therefore graded fatter than what is required by the market.