EU - As the chilly temperatures spread across Europe, pig producers are urged to be vigilant with regard to biosecurity during the cold winter months in order to keep disease at bay.
Last year in the United States (US) for example, the pig industry saw an immense spike in Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) cases.
With the absence of summer heat and dry conditions to keep the virus at bay, the disease spread through farms across 31 states.
Now with a renewed focus on biosecurity measures and nutritional management, the industry in the US hopes to reverse this costly trend and avoid another surge in PEDv infections.
"As an industry, our focus needs to be on making sure our animals are prepared for anything that may come their way this winter season," said Dr Jules Taylor-Pickard, pig business unit director for Alltech.
"However, the winter does bring some additional challenges that producers need to be aware of in order to protect their pigs."
While there are many facets of pig production that need to be set up and continually monitored to properly shield pigs from exposure to viruses and diseases this winter, Taylor-Pickard recommends pig producers concentrate on these five production areas:
1. Herd management – It is essential to make sure there are proper and regular checks and inspections of your herd to identify sick animals and separating them from the rest of the herd.
2. Cleanliness – Severe cold temperatures make it extremely difficult to wash, clean and disinfect. Ensure all areas are completely clean and dry before exposing them to new pigs.
3. Transportation – Animals entering and exiting facilities maybe at risk for exposure by the transportation vehicles being utilised. Guarantee their transport vehicles are completely clean and from trusted sources that understand your biosecurity protocols.
4. Employees – Examine foot traffic and implement proper bioesecurity measures for employees to reduce risk. Reduce/restrict points of entry to breeding facilities.
5. Nutrition – Animal performance is often dependent on feed quality and the performance of the feed itself. Include technologies in the feed that reduce the risk of pathogens and build immunity.
"Understanding the risks posed this winter will allow farmers to be prepared," Taylor-Pickard said.
"We need to keep improving methods for protecting our animals."
ThePoultrySite News Desk
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