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Pig Health Programme Takes Off; Status Revealed

by 5m Editor
4 June 2010, at 12:31pm

UK - Pig producers have wasted no time in signing up to improve pig health in East Anglia.

Now, in a further boost to progress for the Eastern Pig Health (EPH) scheme, a brand new web site provides a single port of call for producers to get information and join up.

Producers are working together on a plan to improve long-term health and biosecurity on their units by sharing information with others in the scheme.

Everyone who signs up to EPH will benefit from access to an online map of pig units and herd health status information, free diagnostic testing, improved biosecurity, online management tools and disease alerts.

EPH Steering Group Chairman Philip Richardson said: “It’s an exciting position to be in. We’re seeing greater transparency between producers than ever before. The first producers to sign up have agreed it has to be ‘all or nothing’ and are willing to give full disclosure of health status on their units to other members of Eastern Pig Health.“

There are four initial steps for producers and their vets.

  1. The producer registers online by clicking here and agrees terms and conditions
  2. The producer signs a disclosure form giving permission for their vet to disclose disease status to EPH
  3. Their vet assesses their unit using a standard protocol, usually combined with a quarterly visit, and enters health status details on the EPH website (EPH subsidises the additional veterinary cost).
  4. The producer has full access to a map of all signed-up producers, disease status information and EPH support services.

There will be support and advice from BPEX, specialist advisers, vets and other producers.

For those without internet access and to discuss the project further please contact Eastern Pig Health Co-ordinator Ross Lake by calling 07792 681203 or emailing [email protected]. An information pack including the registration documents can be posted to producers.

The registration process makes it clear what producers are agreeing to at each stage and password protection and permission forms are used to ensure confidentiality. Eastern Pig Health is funded by the East of England Development Agency and BPEX.

Health Status Revealed

Vital information about pig health status across Yorkshire is now available to the region’s pig producers. A total of 375 pig producers have been surveyed to date by veterinary surgeons as part of the Yorkshire and Humberside Health (YHH) programme.

Of these, 233 were declared to be in production and almost all of them gave their veterinary surgeon permission to record whether or not four important diseases were present on their units.

Enzootic pneumonia (EP) was present on 141 of the units and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) was present on 136. Swine dysentery was recorded on 11 units and mange was recorded on eight units.

BPEX Health Co-ordinator Helen Clarke said, "The pig units surveyed so far represent more than 28,000 sows and more than 206,000 finishing places, covering a mixture of weaner producers, breed to finish and finishing units. So the data gives us a good indication of disease prevalence across the region.

"The enthusiasm, co-operation and willingness of producers to share health status information is very encouraging. Armed with this knowledge, producers who have joined up to YHH can make much more effective decisions on how to manage biosecurity and improve pig health for the long term – which ultimately leads to higher physical herd performance and a more profitable business."

According to the veterinary survey, the average number of pigs weaned per sow per year in the Yorkshire and Humberside region is currently 24, with average pre-weaning and post-weaning mortality figures running at 10.83 and 3.32 per cent respectively.

More information is being gathered as new producers sign up to YHH and take part in the survey. It is hoped that producers will continue to encourage their vets to fill in the surveys after each quarterly visit to ensure that the information available is accurate, up to date and therefore of most benefit to all. It should be noted that individual farm details are kept confidential. More results from the vet survey will be available on the YHH web pages, accessed by clicking on the map.

Producers who would like biosecurity advice and help forming cluster groups with their neighbours should call Helen Clarke on 07973 701369 or email her at [email protected].

Regional health improvement is requires the whole supply chain working together, from producers and vets to hauliers and allied industry companies.