Welcome to this weeks newsletter
Two items to note this week. Queens University, Belfast is to host a conference on animal circovirus disases. The event is cited for September 10th - 13th and is being sponsored by Merial. ---->
Secondly, the latest edition of our Swine Bibliography has been published, this is sponsored by Merial. ---->
We start this week in Hong Kong where the outbreak of a "Pig Disease" in mainland China that has killed 34 people forced the government to set up tough new measures on Monday reports Reuters. Over 180 people have been infected with what is being identified as Streptococcus suis, in China's southwestern Sichuan province since June.
The Hong Kong government ordered pig farms in the city to strictly observe hygiene standards and to dispose of pig carcasses properly in designated areas. Those caught flouting the rules would be fined HK$25,000 (US$3,200) and jailed for up to six months.
In Sichuan, China's top pork-producing province, a new campaign has been launched to educate the poor and illiterate farmers not to slaughter sick pigs or eat their meat after the outbreak which has hit about 100 villages so far.
Two factories have resumed production of a vaccine used years ago to control previous outbreaks of what Reuters calls "swine flu". Health officials in Sichuan and Beijing have been tight-lipped about the outbreak, which was discovered on June 24.
Some experts are however doubting the human deaths are as a result of strep suis and are sugesting that a mutated form of the Bird Flu virus might be to blame.
In this wweks US hog industry review, Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain report that the growth in the live hog demand index is due to strong exports and narrow marketing margins. However, without the growth in exports, the live hog demand index would probably have been down one to two percent for January-June.
With the potential for demand loss and production increases enough to push hog prices close to break-even in 2006, even with relatively low feed prices, this is not the time to build the breeding herd for the best interests of producers, they say.
The U.S. House of Representatives Central American Free Trade Agreement passed the (CAFTA) last thursday by a narrow margin, 217-215. CAFTA eliminates immediately, or over a period of time, nearly all tariffs and other trade barriers to U.S. beef and pork products sold in the region.
"Faced with high duties on beef and pork, U.S. producers have had encumbered access to this market for years. These duties are going to be ratcheted down over the next 15 years to zero," USMEF President and CEO Philip M. Seng said.
See also: Pork Producers Commend House Passage of CAFTA-DR
In a recent study, researchers at Kansas State University found that, on average, growth performance was not effected when piglets were weaned from sow’s milk in the evening and not introduced to dry feed until the next morning, said Casey Neil, K-State graduate student who worked with the study.
The initial prediction for the 28-day study was that the pigs weaned in the evening would be hungrier at the time of feed introduction and would begin eating it more quickly, he said. In turn, this would increase their average weight gain throughout the duration of the study.
What researchers found instead was that both groups of pigs gained weight at the same rate. This means that the time of weaning, morning or evening, has no positive or negative impact on piglet growth performance, Neil said.
Researchers have cited three additional alternatives to dispose of hog waste compared with the current pit-and-spray system, the professor leading the project said.
The research, financed by two major hog producers through a deal with the Attorney General's Office, is trying to determine an environmentally friendly substitute to waste treatment that's not cost prohibitive to farmers compared with the current method.
In Canada, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. saw second-quarter earnings rise 18% to $33.2 million, from $25 million, despite a drop in revenue due to lower prices for pork and poultry. Sales at the large Toronto-based food processing company fell to $1.7 billion, a one per cent drop over the same period of 2004.
"The decline in the primary processing margins in fresh pork and the commodity poultry margins here in Canada was very substantial in the quarter," chief executive Michael McCain told analysts last week. "In the case of pork, a well over 100 per cent decline year-over-year."
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The Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute says, the ability to properly manage manure is key to expanding western Canada's livestock industry. The Institute is working with the University of Saskatchewan on the development of a solid and semi solid livestock manure injection system.
PAMI Soils and Crops Manager Gordon Hultgreen says with surface application of solid manure there are concerns with runoff and with loss of nutrients. "Now we see the vast majority of the large intensive livestock operations properly injecting that manure spread evenly over a much wider area and a lot more agronomically feasible." he said
In the UK, pigmeat prices are holding remarkably firm for the time of year, but face a rising challenge from imports. Meat traders are reporting Irish imported carcases as low as 112p/kg (ex head and feet) with lamb and beef markets also being hit by cheap imports.
EU-wide producer prices this week are quoted at an average of 92.5p/kg deadweight. This week the Euro Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price held firm at 106.26p, but spot values have eased a shade. Non-contract bacon abattoirs have been quoting in the 106–110p/kg range with cutters worth 2–4p/kg more.
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Whether it is a pork pie from Melton Mowbray or olive oil from Nimes, everyone seems to believe their local food deserves the EU’s protection from corporations, reports nutraingredients.com. There are over 300 applications waiting to join the 720 foods and drinks already protected under the EU’s Geographical Indication (GI) regime but a rush of more applications is bound to happen, with MPs in the UK recently calling for producers to catch up with the rest of GI divided Europe.
The Netherlands is one of the top ten pig-producing countries in the EU, reports the Dutch Meat Board. With 3.3 million fattening pigs (animals heavier than 50 kg), the Dutch pig farming industry occupies seventh place in terms of size and shares third place with Finland for percentage growth in the size of the national pig herd in 2005. However, the situation may change over the next few years as a result of the latest enlargement of the EU.
The size of the total pig herd in the EU-25 in April 2005, at 150.8 million pigs (-0.2%), was stable compared with the same period in 2004. In the EU-15 the overall number of pigs increased to 122.9 million (+ 0.8%), while the Netherlands recorded an upturn of 0.5%.
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The fact that consumers think meat is delicious is not actually that surprising, report the Dutch Meat Board. Besides the four basic tastes, taste buds can sense a fifth one: the umami taste, which is described as being savoury and meaty. Traditionally, its function has been as a taste receptor to recognise amino acids (i.e. proteins) in food. Meat is a product with a distinct umami taste.
We have 3 new features this week:
The effect of sow housing systems on longevity, performance and behavior
By Todd See - Researchers from the University of Minnesota reported results from studies that evaluated the effect of sow housing systems on longevity, performance and behavior at the recent Midwestern Meeting of the American Society of Animal Science held in Des Moines, IA.
EU-25 Livestock and Products Annual 2005
By USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service - This article provides the pork industry data from the USDA FAS Livestock and Products Annual 2005 report for the EU. A link to the full report is also provided. The full report includes all the tabular data which we have omitted from this article.
Reducing variability in weight of pigs at slaughter
By Dr Niamh O'Connell, Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland. This article reports on investigations as to whether it is possible to reduce variability in weight at slaughter by using different regrouping regimes.
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Topic: The Management of Infertility
Subject: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - An Overview
This weeks tip looks at Aflatoxins (Mycotoxins)- (2 of 7).
This weeks tip: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - Aflatoxins (Mycotoxins)- (2 of 7).
NEXT WEEK'S TIP: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - An Overview Ergot Toxins - (Mycotoxins)- (3 of 7)
Breeders fight to save Welsh pig
WALES - Pig breeders are joining forces to rejuvenate the popularity of the traditional Welsh pig. Around 50 years ago, the Welsh was one of the most popular breeds in the UK, but it is now on the "at risk" list. Owners are planning a get-together at the St Mellons Agricultural Show next week, which will see the biggest gathering of Welsh pigs for decades.
They hope to form a club to increase interest, give support to breeders, and help them find outlets for their meat. For the first time, the St Mellons show - held at Tredegar House, Newport, on 10 August - will feature a "champion of champions" contest. It will be run under British Pig Association rules and the top Welsh pigs from across the UK will be competing.
The Welsh - a traditional-looking pink pig - was once widely used in commercial herds and in cross-breeding programmes, but its popularity waned as health-conscious consumers began demanding leaner meat.
Experts say numbers are now worryingly low, with just 405 pedigree breeding females in the whole of the UK. There are only 20 or so breeders left in Wales.
Members of the Wales & Border Counties Pig Breeders' Association have been working hard to increase numbers and raise awareness of the breed.
Helen Tongue, who is vice-chair of the association, and rears Welsh pigs at her farm in Devauden, Chepstow, said the show would be an important showcase for the breed.
"There are not many shows in Wales where pigs are given the prominence they deserve these days, so to have something like this at St Mellons is excellent," she said.
That's all for this week.
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