Animal Production Science Animal Production Science  Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals

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Nutritional principles, integration, modelling and research management to practical applications – An overview of John Black’s contribution to animal science

Roger Campbell


Dr John Black has been actively involved in pig and pork research for some 25 years. His basic research on energy and protein metabolism initially in lambs was pivotal to understanding the nutritional factors affecting the partitioning of energy between protein and fat. The research findings were challenging especially for nutritionists and eventually became the basis underlying the nutrition and management of growing pigs used globally today. The fundamental information generated from the research also formed the basis of the simulation model AusPig which integrated the biology of growth and commercial reality to predict animal performance, nutrient requirements and ultimately profitability based on costs and returns with the latter incorporating sales strategies. AusPig is probably the most biologically correct and comprehensive model ever developed for pigs and had a significant impact on the Australian pork industry. More recently John has been a leader in grain science and contributed to the development of NIRS calibrations to rapidly predict the productive energy values of grains for pigs, poultry and ruminants. The development of the calibrations was a world first and the technology has been commercialised globally through AusScan Online. Dr Black’s research with grains also led to discoveries on the factors affecting starch and protein digestion and utilisation. At a commercial level his findings resulted in changes in how grains are processed for the pork industry and will likely contribute to the next major advance in manipulating feed intake and maximising nutrient utilisation and performance by pigs. The commercial outcomes from John’s research have all come from excellence in science and rigorous scientific method. He is one of the world’s best animal scientists, a genuine innovator and his research outcomes have had major scientific and commercial implications for the Australian and global pork industries.

AN15787  Accepted 21 July 2017

© CSIRO 2017