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APSA 2017 a scientific investment that makes sense

APSA President Dr Pat Mitchell of Australian Pork Limited will welcome delegates at Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt to APSA 2017.

With early bird registrations for APSA 2017 now extended to September 15 2017 and offering savings of up to $300, stakeholders invested in the science and business of producing pigs and pork, including scientists, producers, suppliers, regulators and associates are urged to register now by visiting https://www.apsa.asn.au/Conference2017/Registration.aspx

First held in 1987 in Albury, New South Wales, the biennial Australasian Pig Science Association Conference,  to be held at the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne, Victoria, November 19-22 2017, will hear the latest science behind seasonal fertility, animal welfare, consumerism, pig genetic improvements, novel feeds, antimicrobials and eating quality assurance.

APSA President, Dr Pat Mitchell of Australian Pork Limited, said the 16th APSA offered registered delegates a seat at the table, alongside national and international authorities.

“The quality of APSA presenters and the level of excellence of their papers promises to deliver a unique and invaluable learning and networking experience over four days,” she said.

The 2017 APSA Conference proceedings, ‘Manipulating Pig Production XVI’ (Edited by Dr Lucy Waldron and Dr Shay Hill) will be made available to registered delegates and will later be published in full as a special issue of Animal Production Science.

The Conference opens with the critical issue of consumer preferences and attitudes to pork, which will be reviewed in a paper by Dr Heather Bray, Senior Research Associate, University of Adelaide, Dr Darryl D’Souza, CEO of SunPork Solutions and Evan Bittner, Pork CRC PhD candidate at University of Melbourne.

They will also look at the role of retailers in delivering pork with credence attributes such as animal welfare, production systems, and environment.

Dr Mitchell noted that with the industry in something of a downturn at the moment, differentiating product in the market and better understanding consumers was critical.

A symposium on genetic improvement in a closed herd will be addressed by Dr Kim Bunter of University of New England, New South Wales, Prof Dorian Garrick, Chief Scientific Officer, Institute of Veterinary, Animal & Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand and Dr Matt Culbertson, Global Director for Product Development and Technical Services, PIC, USA.

With Australia’s pig industry closed to the importation of porcine genetic material from the late 1980s, this restriction in trade has prevented diseases such as PRRS from wreaking havoc within our naïve production systems, but has also restricted access to the range of genetic material available outside of Australia.

This symposium will therefore discuss those advances in the fields of genetic improvement and genomics that could lead to gains in productivity within Australia’s closed herd.

Professor John O’Doherty, University College Dublin, Ireland, will review current and novel feed additives for their potential to influence pig performance and efficiency and how they may influence the microbial population of the gastrointestinal tract, nutrient digestibility, gut structure and function, health and how these may be applied in pig production to help reduce use of antimicrobials, for example.

Professor Alan Tilbrook, University of Queensland, is sure to generate debate when he plots his suggested path on how to best assess concepts and apply advanced objective measurements in the rapidly evolving animal welfare space.

Another hot topic up for review and discussion at APSA 2017 is the use of antimicrobials.

Darren Trott, Professor of Veterinary Microbiology at University of Adelaide, will ask the important question “is agriculture really to blame for antimicrobial resistance?”

After tabling that question, he will advance debate on strategies to save antibiotics for humans and animals and how technology and new diagnostics could aid this challenge.

Heather Channon, Acting Research and Innovation Manager with Australian Pork Limited, has devoted many years to researching ways and means of improving pork eating quality.

She will reveal much of what she and her colleagues at University of Melbourne have uncovered.

After student and industry workshops on the first day of APSA 2017, Dr Ray King will deliver the AC Dunkin Memorial Lecture on seasonal infertility, providing collated information from international and Australian projects and highlighting the projects and their outcomes that have been presented at APSA to assist industry to alleviate the problem of seasonal infertility.

He will then identify potential knowledge gaps and make recommendations for future research.

According to APSA President, Dr Pat Mitchell, identifying knowledge gaps, then helping to fill them, were two of the key drivers behind APSA’s biennial conferences.

She promised that APSA 2017 would not only deliver knowledge and offer solutions, but also pose serious scientific questions to be researched and analysed between now and APSA 2019.

“APSA’s remit is to foster and promote quality basic and applied research in pig and pork science and this is ongoing, with our conferences being the biennial platforms for delivery,” Dr Mitchell concluded.

Principal sponsors of APSA 2017 are Australian Pork Limited and Co-operative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork.

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