Five-week batch farrowing proves successful against PMWS

UK - Five-week batch farrowing could become the new holy grail for pig producers with disease problems.
calendar icon 12 February 2003
clock icon 4 minute read
Need a Product or service?
Animal Health Products
Swine Breeders and Genetics
Pig, Hog Feed and Ingredients
Swine manure, waste and odor
Pig, Hog and Swine Books

NPA Logo

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & White-hall, and with pro-cessors, supermarkets & caterers – fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

Although it isn't the easiest management change to implement, it has the potential to significantly reduce PMWS mortality.

Producers who want to learn more, should visit The Bowmans virtual demonstration farm at any time from Thursday February 27, and follow the link to "Forward Farming".

This is when three real pig units join the existing virtual farm (which offers weekly updates on the trials and tribulations of producers Bart and Marge Bowman, who - in a depressing spirit of realism - are over-borrowed at the bank, and are fighting for survival).

One of the three real units has changed to five-week batch farrowing and the Forward Farming website will show how it was achieved and what benefits are now being seen.

"The point about five-week batch production is that it draws some very strict lines about what you can and cannot do," says Paul Rhodes at Bishop Burton College, who is coordinator of the Bishop Burton PMWS group.

"It puts a lot of discipline in place which, along with a good hygiene protocol, appears to be delivering real benefits against PMWS."

The Bishop Burton PMWS group has members representing some 18,000 sows in the Yorkshire/Lincolnshire area, who are exchanging information in a bid to improve their techniques for tackling wasting disease.

It became clear at the first meeting that PMWS mortality is still running at high levels in the region - well over 20 per cent in some cases.

"Most members of the group have tried various strategies without much success but on the evidence so far they are comfortable that five-week batch farrowing is proving fairly successful," said Paul Rhodes.

One stark statistic to emerge from the group is that most of the PMWS in Yorkshire occurred a fortnight from the date that foot and mouth restrictions closed down movement from pig units.

De-pops/re-pops have proved successful at reducing the impact of PMWS but introducing batch farrowing appears to be the single most successful measure producers can take.

Useful pointers to emerge at the group, which has had two meetings so far, are…

  • Give pigs fresh fruit and veg. Consider throwing them some C-beet as a manipulable toy with medicinal qualities.
  • Set aside good hospital pens and get any sick pigs into them as soon as possible.
  • Don't have a continuous flow through the hospital pens.
  • Do your best to protect staff morale. If you have to dispatch sick pigs, do it at night when the staff have gone home.
  • But most important of all, look at batch farrowing, particularly five-week batch farrowing.
Source: National Pig Association - 11th February 2002
© 2000 - 2022 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.