Reaping the Rewards of PCV2 Vaccination

by 5m Editor
11 December 2008, at 6:19am

IRELAND - Frank Moran, manager of a 1,100 farrow to finish unit at Glebo Farms, County Tipperary has now been using CIRCOVAC PCV2 sow vaccine for 12 months and is seeing outstanding results which are having a real impact on the unit’s profitability.

Reductions in mortality rates alone have seen an improvement of €7.31 per pig finished. With between five and six hundred going out of the unit every week the increase in earnings are substantial.

Glebo Farms is a fully-slatted 1,100 farrow to finishing unit. According to Mr Moran: “At times when PMWS was at its peak post -weaning mortality stood at about 10 to 11 per cent. We were pulling as many as 60 to 70 pigs out each week. 12 months on and total weaned to slaughter mortality is much reduced and is now running at between 5 and 6 per cent.

Table 1. Post-Weaning Mortality Before and After Vaccination of Sows with Circovac PCV2 Vaccine
Post-Weaning Mortality
Stage 1 Stage 2 Finishers Total
Before Vaccination 6.70% 1.50% 6.50% 14.70%
After Vaccination 1.50% 0.30% 3.82% 5.62%

“After starting vaccination of the sow herd with Circovac late last year we noticed a big reduction in the number of medicines and call outs we needed. The first measurable improvement we noticed was in the feed conversion rate at second stage.” In fact the feed conversion ratios have now improved in both the nursery and in finishing pigs from 1.78 to 1.76 and from 2.90 to 2.85 respectively (see Table 2 below) - together these have been estimated to be worth €1.30 per pig.

Table 2. Feed Conversion Ratio Before and After Vaccination of Sows with Circovac PCV2 Vaccine
Feed Conversion Ratio
Nursery Finishing
Before Vaccination 1.78 2.90
After Vaccination 1.76 2.85
Improvement -0.02 -0.05

The improvements seen in feed conversion are of course reflected in improved daily weight gains. At eight weeks post weaning pigs are now 1.18kg heavier than before vaccination, an increase of 21 grammes per day on average. This improvement is equivalent to €0.80 per pig. As a result of these improvements Mr Moran and his team are now finishing pigs at 160 days, two days earlier than before, and at a weight of 107kg, worth a further €0.63 per pig.

Table 3. Growth Rate Before and After Vaccination of Sows with Circovac PCV2 Vaccine
Average Daily Gain (grammes) Weight at 56 Days (kg)
Before Vaccinatation 455g 25.48kg
After Vaccination 476g 26.66kg
Difference +21g +1.18kg

Growth in finishing pigs is now more uniform with even batches of pigs, making for much easier management when it comes to selecting pigs for slaughter.

“Using Circovac has helped us to reduce some of our costs and also the number of man hours we need on the unit,” Mr Moran add.: “I would definitely equate these improvements with the use of Circovac. We are very aware of these because, as a business, we put a lot of weight on the importance of keeping accurate records. We are continually measuring and monitoring. It is the only way to keep track of how the business is running and identify areas where we can make adjustments.

Vet Dennis Kelliher added: “After almost five years struggling with PMWS, the introduction of Circovac sow vaccine into this herd in October 2007 has been the single most effective intervention we have made in that entire period, as is evident from the results observed.”