Pork Insight Articles

 Industry Partners

Prairie Swine Centre is an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan

Prairie Swine Centre is grateful for the assistance of the George Morris Centre in developing the economics portion of Pork Insight.

Financial support for the Enterprise Model Project and Pork Insight has been provided by:

Author(s): Lee Whittington
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Reference: E-Zine Vol 1 Issue 2
Country: Canada


If Change is a good thing – 2008/09 may be remembered as having too much of a good thing!

 Change was the watchword of the day in 2008; personnel changes topped the list with the career change of Dr. John Patience, first President/CEO of Prairie Swine Centre, taking a position with Iowa State University. Seeking a replacement became an important function of the Prairie Swine Centre Board of Directors in 2008. I am pleased to be writing this article today as the Centres new President/CEO.

 The year saw the opening of the new Sow Research Unit at our Floral, Saskatchewan location.  Every part of the 300 sow F-F operation facility has now been completely rebuilt over the past 17 years, providing very good quality, flexible research facilities and at the same time emulating typical commercial barns in Canada. Production staff are very pleased with the loose-housing system selected and both behaviour and nutrition studies currently have nearly 100% of the sows on trial in the new Sow Research Unit. The year was also marked with the disappointment of closing the PSC Elstow Research Farm. The 600 sow F-F farm had been operated since 2000 and contributed greatly to the development of knowledge in nutrition, engineering and behaviour through its ability to provide large numbers of pigs for experiments. The ability to simulate a typical larger production operation was essential in work such as sow management with electronic sow feeders, the use of alternative strategies in auto-sort grow-finish management and investigation of variability in piglet growth rate across thousands of piglets. This facility is certainly missed and alternative arrangements have been made to locate these larger group-size related trials at commercial pig farms. We recently completed a sale of this farm to JSR Genetics of the United Kingdom. This Arrangement will allow PSC Researchers some access to the barn and JSR Genetics has generously offered to have the Pork Interpretive Gallery remain open for industry and public tours.

 In fall 2008 we embarked on a revision to our strategic plan. So many changes had overtaken the industry in the past 5 years that certain aspects of how and what was needed, and whom we served were all up for discussion. In all the books on the subject of strategic planning one quote bears repeating here:

 “In today’s marketplace it is organizational capability to adapt that is the only sustainable competitive advantage” Willie Pietersen, in Reinventing Strategy Change is invigorating Where to start? Prairie Swine Centre had a business and research funding model that worked well for 17 years. That success of course affects your thinking and colours your outlook to the future, as does the success enjoyed by the Centre locally and internationally in recognition of its contribution to the various members of the pork value chain. Our emphasis on the pork producer has allowed our technology transfer and research efforts to succeed in speeding adoption of change at the farm. For example, the selection of feeder types, to the level of feed in the pan to maximize intake and reduce waste and the Net Energy value of that feed – all of these developments over the past decade and a half can be traced to a study, a report and countless producer and supplier meetings initiate by Prairie Swine Centre. There is no question the old formula worked to instil a competitive advantage for the Canadian pork producer. But times have changed and the current income crisis within the industry challenges us all first to survive an secondly to predict what the new industry that rises from this period will look like.

The ‘future’ makes a mockery of our attempt to predict its coming, but we are obliged to try. So this coming year we are on a path to reinvent our company, and its service to our stakeholders. Firstly, by broadening the definition of stakeholders to aggressively seek solutions for the many players within the pork value chain. This is a natural extension of the base of knowledge and expertise PSC personnel have within the barn and extend that up the value chain to include the transportation and packer components and down the chain in the opposite direction to the cereal breeder and genetics supplier for example. What about something more novel? How can we demonstrate a greater value to the broader Canadian population? The pig as a model for human or pet health and nutrition for example is an area where our in-depth knowledge of the pig would allow us to provide greater value to a greater portion of society.

At Prairie Swine Centre we believe in the Canadian pork producer’s ability to be internationally competitive and we will do our part to ensure that you have the research expertise needed to sustain your competitive edge in the future.

Lee Whittington

Slots Master There is no definite strategy or technique that you can use as you play slots