BPEX blog

Monday, 31 October 2011

Producers strengthening disease defences

More than a third of producers said they were going to review their defences against pig disease, following the 2TS Focus on Health conferences.

Speaker Robin Brice from Rattlerow Farms (pictured) explained how they aim to maintain good health status, having invested several years in eradicating PRRS on one unit.

He said: “An all-in all-out system with good cleaning and disinfection is important to our biosecurity, but that alone is no good if there is a risk of vermin re-introducing disease. Vermin control has to go hand in hand with cleaning and disinfection.”

Good stockmanship is also central to managing pig health. “It helps us spot clinical signs of disease as early as possible so we can get any tests done, work out what the problem is and decide how to deal with it quickly.”

Thirdly, Robin emphasised his view on using vaccines: “We make sure we vaccinate at the optimum timing to benefit the pig, rather than just to suit our own routine. We see all vaccinations as insurance.”

Dr Luke Minion from the USA and Danish vet Anders Elvstroem also discussed their current strategies to eradicate PRRS in their respective regions – using close co-ordination between producers and tight biosecurity measures. Their sustained efforts include using all-in all-out systems, health status mapping, sharing of information and vaccination of gilts which, combined, have reduced PRRS incidence in both countries.

For more information, all the speakers’ presentations are available to view in full at www.bpex.org.uk/2TS/conferences.aspx along with BPEX factsheets. The national Pig Health Improvement Project now provides the structure and resource for producers to work together. Go to http://www.pighealth.org.uk/

Monday, 24 October 2011

Good health can be worth an extra £1 per pig

A healthy pig can earn an extra £1 per pig because it is much more efficient at converting feed for growth than a disease-challenged one. This was a key point from nutritionist Paul Toplis at the 2TS Focus on Health conferences. Feed intake is key to growth so, even when there is a herd health problem, producers can make just as much difference as the vet and nutritionist by reducing all other stressors.

Paul was one of five speakers from the UK, US and Denmark and there was some good discussion with producers about the practical steps they can take on farm and about how the UK pig industry can shift towards a more collaborative approach to combat disease for the long-term.

View all the speakers' presentations and see pictures of the events here.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Simple, effective and free: farrowing discs

We have stocked up on more of our popular 2TS Farrowing Discs, which producers hang up in the pen to monitor a sow’s progress at farrowing.

To request your free farrowing discs and a guide to using them email Clancy Smith or call her on 0247 647 8792.

The disc can either be hung above the farrowing pen on a string with a bulldog clip or attached to the pen side somewhere easily accessible. After each sow has finished farrowing, the disc can be moved to the next farrowing sow and it is useful to have several discs in each farrowing house.

Attention to detail during farrowing is essential to get newborn piglets off to a good start and it has a major influence on overall litter productivity, which is one of the key areas of focus for breeding units aiming for the 2TS target.

Monday, 3 October 2011

A garden sprayer helps service management

It’s good to catch up with pig producers and staff now the autumn season of Pig Club meetings is underway.

We’re always on the look out for practical ideas on how to move the industry nearer to the ‘two-tonne sow’ target and Garth Pig Club North invited Easey breeder producer Neil Newlove to highlight a few things he’s been doing recently.

Neil (pictured) runs a 730- sow outdoor breeding herd on a batch system and keeps all the dry sows in tents on concrete.
· They’ve found the best bedding is wood chips with rape straw (not chopped) on top. It is really absorbent and the laying areas are nice and dry.
· At service, they use a garden sprayer to spray water on all the vulvas followed by a wipe down with a disinfectant wipe. Using the sprayer has proven much more effective in removing dirt
· Stocking density makes a big difference: the unit saw a drop in farrowing rate from 90%+ to around 85% when a tent order got delayed and the stocking density in the dry sow tents went up
· Neil built his own farrowing arcs. The total cost was £220 per arc (as apposed to a purchased model for £400-£500)

As for the other end of the pork supply chain, the Club got all the details on the new BPEX pork marketing campaign to get consumers to make the Pork Promise.