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Positive year for pigs

It wasn’t just cheer and beer at the VFF Pig Group’s annual Christmas party, there was also information about overseas pig farms, disease diagnosis and vaccines, and nutrition.

LAURA GRIFFIN December 17, 2013 4:09am

ACE Livestock Consulting's Megan Edwards .


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t just cheer and beer at the VFF Pig Group’s annual Christmas party, there was also information about overseas pig farms, disease diagnosis and vaccines, and nutrition.

Group president John Bourke said it was great to celebrate a positive year for the industry at Shepparton’s Aussie Hotel with about 30 people including fellow farmers and service providers.

‘‘Sales are getting better; supermarkets are now selling Australian products including smallgoods in Coles,’’ Mr Bourke said.

‘‘Consumers need a choice and that’s all we want, to be able to take a crack.’’

The Stanhope farmer said the biggest challenge to Victorian pig farmers were disease risks associated with small-scale ‘backyard’ producers feeding pigs swill and protesters compromising biosecurity protocols on farm.

ACE Laboratory’s Aileen Vanderfeen told the group about farm-specific vaccines that could be used if mass marketed vaccines had been unsuccessful in managing disease.

Developments in Australian commercial pig nutrition this year included increasing the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio, and increasing the amount of sugar and reducing protein in creep feeds to address different issues, ACE Livestock Consulting’s Megan Edwards said.

‘‘Lower protein creep feeds — that are popular in Europe — can reduce the amount of indigestible protein entering the large intestine to reduce the risk of bacterial diseases,’’ Ms Edwards said.

She said it was a ‘‘preventable and sustainable approach’’ that could help farmers deal with bacterial infection instead of using antibiotics.

‘‘It will never replace good management, hygiene or housing.’’

Commercial pig farmers might be familiar with Alltech’s nutrition products, but a representative treated the VFF Pig Group to a different product range — beer.

Goornong farmers Alister and Nanette Carr said they enjoyed the beer presentation and Deniliquin farmers David and Linda Donaldson said the session was informative.

Mr Davidson welcomed the increase of sow-stall-free farms in Australia.

‘‘As an industry, we need to be aware of levels of imports but also that we don’t over-produce,’’ Mr Donaldson said.

‘‘I encourage all consumers to look for the Australian Pork logo or buy hams on the bone or a fresh pork roast for Christmas.’’

Words and pictures:Laura Griffin

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