AUSTRALIA - West Australian Pork Producers’ Association President, Richard Evison, has described the past year as one which saw the WA pork industry grow positively, while shifting focus to supply fresh product across Australia.
“Despite the internal challenge of the mid-year termination of WAPPA’s Executive Officer, which our Executive Committee is now addressing with the support of membership, it’s been a year which looks likely to positively change the face of WA’s pork industry,” Mr Evison said after WAPPA’s 2014 AGM at South of Perth Yacht Club on Friday, 17 October.
“Growth in demand for the niche free range market has seen WA increase its free range herd this year and we expect this to continue next year to where 25 per cent of WA’s sows will be farmed outdoors.
“This is great news for WA’s pork industry, which employs an estimated 1700 full and part-time workers, as it creates further job opportunities and growth here and meets market demand across Australia, but doesn’t negatively impact supply into the local WA market,” he said.
An estimated $50 million had been invested in housing and production systems during the past five years to meet new guidelines for sow housing and production efficiency.
Mr Evison estimated only 20 per cent of sows in WA were kept in gestation stalls, putting WA on track to meet national industry target of gestation stall free by 2017.
With the quality and availability of skilled labour in the pig production and processing sectors a constant issue, a significant breakthrough has been achieved with the Labour Agreements developed by WAPPA with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
They are now being used to assist the WA industry with recruiting an estimated 80 suitably qualified, job-ready, sponsored overseas workers by 2015.
“Significantly, this Labour Agreement has now been adopted by APL and will be rolled out as a national template for all Australian pork producers,” Mr Evison said.
Another highlight noted in the President’s report to members and industry was the development of a Biogas Pilot Plant at DAFWA’s Medina Research Station, which has increased awareness of the advantages of covered anaerobic ponds and biogas production and achieved access to a renewable energy resource.
Producers Graeme Dent of Cuballing and Dawson Bradford of Popanyinning were
re-elected to WAPPA’s Executive Committee at the AGM, joining incumbents Torben Soerensen (Treasurer), Dean Romaniello and Richard Evison.
Speakers at the industry day, which was attended by 65 people, included Tim Ahern, Zoetis Australia, Avril Grieve, Elanco Animal Health, Fadi Malek, Global Skilled Employment Services, Darryl D’Souza and Tony Abel, both of APL, Kim Nairn and Kate Gannon, both of Portec Veterinary Services, Roger Campbell, Pork CRC, Amy Suckling, Craig Mostyn Group and Bruce Mullan, DAFWA.
About 130 people later attended WAPPA’s annual industry dinner.
Top image via Shutterstock