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With the recent outbreaks and spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Europe and Asia there has been heightened attention to biosecurity in the U.S. pork industry. Efforts are being made on an industry level to reduce risk to our industry from international travelers and feed ingredients being brought into the U.S.
ASF is a double-edged sword for the U. S. industry. It is creating tremendous (potential) market opportunities for U. S. pork. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pork. With estimates of at least 9 million sows lost in China (~1.5X the U.S. industry’s entire sow population), there will continue to be a hole in their domestic production for a long time to come. And reports would indicate that they are going to have a difficult time rebuilding their industry. The down side to ASF is that if the U.S. would get it, our exports would stop immediately. This would obviously be devastating for pork prices. And if the virus is detected in the U.S. , all pig movements would be stopped for at least 72 hours while officials work to determine the extent of the infection.
This is where the Secure Pork Supply (SPS) Plan comes into play. The SPS plan is essentially a detailed biosecurity plan for each of your production sites that you create with your veterinarian and submit to the Board of Animal Health for approval. It does take some time but would be well worth it in the case of an emergency shutdown since SPS herds will be the first allowed to resume normal operations. More information about SPS and also foreign animal diseases can be found at the following website or you can contact your SVC Veterinarian.
New PQA Plus 4.0
SVC veterinarians were recently certified as trainers of the new PQA Plus 4.0 program. Starting in June of 2019 this new version of the PQA program will be used for both individual certifications and site assessments.
The individual certification and site assessment both need to be renewed every 3 years. The biggest change with the new program is the individual certification process. This now involves watching 90 minutes of interactive videos with your trainer so make sure to allow for enough time when planning to re-certify. There are different video options for people being certified for the 1st time and people that are going through a re-certification.
Technically the PQA program is still a voluntary program but all major packers require suppliers to be certified and sites to be assessed.
Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome (HBS)
Hemorrhagic Bowel Syndrome (HBS) causes sudden death in finishing barns.
The cause is not known for sure but an overgrowth of a Clostridium bacteria is one possible cause. Even high health flows of pigs are susceptible to this syndrome. Normally it is a large, healthy pig that is found dead from HBS making it a very frustrating and expensive problem. Some genetic lines appear to be more suscep-tible to HBS. Many different nutritional and management strategies have been tried to prevent HBS deads, including:
- Fiber is generally a good thing for a healthy gut and HBS is no exception. Some research would indicate that maintaining fiber in finishing diets will reduce HBS deads. DDGs are the most common source of fiber but in some cases other options need to be investigated.
- Disruptions in feed intake appear to lead to more HBS deads. This could be from feed outages, health challenges, or temperature/weather stress.
- Stir fans and misters in finishing barns help keep pigs cool during hot weather which can lead to better average daily gain and fewer HBS deads.
- There are barns where all of the HBS deads occur at the curtain end of the barn which would suggest that pigs that are not comfortable don’t eat consistently.
- Some would also recommend running feeders a bit looser to ensure consistent feed intake.
- Overstocking can also restrict feed intake.
- Different feed medication programs have been tried to control this issue with results that have not been consistent.
- Water treatments may help alter the microbes in the gut when an outbreak of HBS deads happens in a barn. Things such as apple cider vinegar, bleach, and antibiotics have been tried.
Congratulations Dr. Chris and Brooke Sievers!
Swine Vet Center extends its warmest congratulations to Dr. Chris and Brooke Sievers on the birth of their son. Gavin Christopher arrived on June 16 at 5:26 a.m. (What a wonderful Father’s Day gift!) Gavin weighed in at 7lbs, 7oz. Both baby and mom are doing great.
Swine Vet Center wishes Dr. Chris and Brooke much joy and happiness in this new chapter in their lives!
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