- The Facts: Did you know?
- Pig Myth Busters
- Pork Production Points
- Pork is the most widely consumed form of animal protein
- Industry Terminologies
- Guaranteeing Australian pork to consumers
- The big questions surrounding the environment, natural resource management and climate change
Pigs have a very wide angle of vision - 310 degrees - and are therefore easily distracted.
Pigs have colour vision but they cannot focus both eyes on the same spot.
Pigs are said to have very good memories. This characteristic is exploited to develop safe handling routines.
Grower pigs eat the equivalent of about 3% of their body weight and drink about 10% of their body weight daily.
Pigs can't sweat. They lose heat through their mouths and their ideal growing temperature is 20-22° C.
Pig-like animals first appeared on the earth some 36 million years ago.
Whether housed indoors or outdoors, a pig spends more time resting than any other domestic animal.
Most pig farmers use the manure and effluent on their farms as an organic fertiliser to improve crops and pasture as well as restore degraded soils.
FICTION: Pigs are dirty animals
FACT: Pigs are in fact very clean animals and even dung in a specific area of their pen. Pigs keep separate areas for sleeping, eating and dunging. When hot, they cover themselves in mud because they do not sweat. The mud works as a cooling mechanism.
FICTION: Pork is a fatty and unhealthy meat
FACT: A lean pork chop contains less than 4.7 grams of fat and more than 30 grams of protein. Pig feed is made up of a variety of grains, vitamins and minerals to produce lean pork with a minimum amount of fat. Actually there are no fewer than 7 cuts of pork which have less fat than a skinless chicken breast, and 15 cuts approved by the National Heart Foundation.
A sow on average will produce 10-12 piglets per litter.
The average growth rate of Australian pigs is around 600-650g a day from birth to sale.
Feed (mainly grains such as wheat, barley and sorghum) makes up about 55% of the total cost of production of pork.
Australia's pig industry has a farmgate value of just over a billion dollars (Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics, ABARE).
The Australian pork supply chain is valued at $3.5 billion and employs more than 33,000 people.
Approximately 87% of Australia's pigmeat production is for domestic consumption.
For the latest statistics on Australia's pork industry go to the Australian Pork Limited website and look for the Australian Pig Annual publications.
Baconer/Finisher: Market pigs which weigh more than 55kg liveweight.
Boar: Male pig aged over six months and used in the breeding herd.
Breeds of pigs grown in Australia: There are a number of breeds of pigs used in Australia. The white breeds include: Large White, Yorkshire and Landrace. Coloured breeds include: Large Black, Berkshire, Duroc and Hampshire.The genus that pigs belong to is "Sus".
Farrowing: Birth of piglets; after day 110-120 of pregnancy.
Gilt: A female pig that has been selected to become part of the breeding herd. The term Gilt is dropped once the female pig has had her first litter.
Sow: Any breeding female that has given birth to a litter of piglets.
Grower pig: This term is more commonly used for pigs between weaner and finisher phases.
Piglet: is the name of a baby pig. The average weight of a piglet at birth is approximately 1.5 kilos. From birth to the point that it is weaned from its mother, it retains the description/name - piglet.
Porker: Market pigs which weigh between 24-55kg liveweight.
Runt: The smallest pig in the litter.
Weaner: Piglet recently weaned from its mother at around three to four weeks of age. Generally then transferred from the farrowing shed to the weaner shed.
Withholding period (WHP's): The amount of time that must lapse between treating an animal (e.g. with a drench) and slaughtering for human consumption. Different drugs have different withholding periods varying from 12 hours - 28 days.
Export Slaughter Intervals (ESI's): Refers to the period following a treatment (e.g. vaccination) when pigs may not be processed for export. The ESI's are set by the Austrailian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to meet specific export market requirements.
Industry quality assurance
The Australian Pork Industry Quality Assurance Program (APIQ) is the Australian pork industry's on-farm quality assurance program that enable producers to demonstrate that their on-farm practices reflect Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), for Management, Food Safety, Animal Welfare, Biosecurity and Traceability.
The APIQ requirements are scientifically based and complement a practical piggery recording and production management system.
The APIQ vision:"To provide our customers with safe, wholesome Australian produced pork through a quality assurance program that helps sustain profitability for the industry in a global market."
Further details about the Australian pig industry's quality assurance programs can be found at www.apiq.com.au
The Australian pork industry is committed to ensuring environmentally sustainable pork production, which is about maintaining a long-term competitive pork industry in Australia while sustaining Australia's resources and the environment.
The industry's commitment is to meet and exceed the increasingly stringent regulatory requirements in each state. The pork industry has developed the National Environmental Guidelines for Piggeries to facilitate a consistent environmental regulatory approach.
The National Environmental Guidelines for Piggeries provide a general framework for managing environmental issues associated with piggeries and a benchmark for assessing their environmental sustainability. Based on latest scientific information and best industry practice these guidelines facilitate management of environmental risks and reduction of the environmental footprint of pig production in a consistent regulatory approach throughout Australia.
The pork industry has taken a proactive approach to environmental sustainability over the years and has a history of significant R & D investments in this area. Other research efforts aim at continuous improvement associated with waste minimisation, pollution prevention and beneficial reuse of wastes to reduce the industry's environmental footprint.
Further information can be found at http://australianpork.com.au/industry-focus/environment/