Aberdeenshire farm halves pig mortality

by 5m Editor
16 August 2004, at 12:00am

UK - A new vaccination policy and a change in management have more than halved post-weaning mortality rates on an Aberdeenshire farm.

Fort Dodge Animal Health... more What was thought to be a PMWS problem, causing the loss of 15-18 pigs a week from Fraser Pigs' 450-sow outdoor herd at Castle Fraser, near Inverurie, turned out to be Glässer's disease.

The unit's vet, Bruce Bremner, advised vaccinating with Suvaxyn M Hyo Parasuis and increasing the weaning age from 25 days to 28 days to get a more robust pig at weaning. At the same time, the manager, Mark Gauld instigated a new feeding regime introducing an acidified creep diet.

As a result, mortality levels have dropped from over 12 to between five and six per cent - about six or seven pigs a week.

Mark Gauld, manager of Fraser Pigs, Aberdeenshire, where vaccination and a change of management have halved pig mortality.
"The losses were expensive as nearly all the pigs died when 11, 12 or 13 weeks old," he commented. "We thought the problem was PMWS because the pigs just died and we couldn't do anything about it."

However, it turned out that the herd was only suffering from a mild form of PMWS. Glässer's disease was, in fact, the main problem, though it was presenting itself as PMWS and may have been exacerbating the symptoms, he explained.

"We calculated that if we were losing six pigs a week and the cost of vaccination was two pigs a week, then we would be four pigs ahead. In fact, we have done much better than that," said Mark.

The pigs - a special line developed by JSR Genetics - are finished in deep straw yards for Grampian Country Pork.

With just one batch of pigs through since the new system was introduced Mark Gauld is cautious but optimistic. "The pigs seem to be growing a lot faster. We've certainly noticed an increase in feed consumption, which is averaging 15-20 g per pig a day," he said.

Source: Fort Dodge Animal Health - August 2004

5m Editor