BPEX blog

Thursday, 26 July 2012

ZNCP has changed

BPEX is responding to increasing pressure on the pig sector to minimise the salmonella risk to consumers. So the Zoonoses National Control Programme for Salmonella in pigs (ZNCP) has changed.
The meat juice testing for salmonella antibodies has now been replaced with a new on-farm salmonella risk assessment tool which will help identify the most effective control methods for each individual pig unit.
The outcomes of the risk assessment are used to create a meaningful salmonella control plan, as required by farm assurance.

Go to: www.bpex-zncp.org.uk

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

PMWS Risk Update

The latest information on PMWS has been published in a new Research into Action factsheet. It comes from an ongoing study to identify the risk factors and their association with the severity of PMWS at farm level. The factsheet can be downloaded here and there is further information on the project website. Risk factors identified include:
  • Raising grower pigs indoors
  • Bringing new boars onto the farm
  • Presence of M. hyopneumoniae antibodies
  • Presence of hospital pens which drain towards other accommodation
  • Increased requirement for veterinary visits (consequence)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Huge achievements for stockmen in the East

Twenty-nine pig stockmen from the East of England completed the BPEX Stockman Development Programme this week. Their confidence has grown and they’re finding small changes can make a big difference, having taken what they’ve learned back to the farm.

The eight-month Stockman Development course is designed to both boost practical pig husbandry skills and give trainees a wider knowledge of the supply chain.

The student of the year award went to Piotr Wroblewski, who works for Piggy Green near Bury St Edmunds. He was really pleased to receive the award and said his time on the course has helped motivate him to progress further in his pig industry career. Piotr said: “I think we’ve improved our service management with the sows and also what we do at weaning. I hope we will start to see the results and better performance soon.”

Fellow trainee James Hearmon from Rattlerow Farms highlighted about what he had learned about condition scoring sows and how much it had helped his pig management.
Piotr, James and the rest of the group all received certificates of achievement at a special presentation evening in Bury St Edmunds. Their managers also came along for a bite to eat and to help celebrate their success. 
Click here for the photos..

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Pregnancy scanning – some practical tips

Pig producers had a look inside the sow’s reproductive tract and then picked up their scanner to practice pregnancy diagnosis at a workshop in the South West.

Fran Baird from The George Vet Group showed the group what the reproductive tract looks like, including where semen is deposited, where eggs are released and where embryos develop.
He highlighted some problem areas to look out for, including the negative impact of stress on ovulation. Fran said that 21-day returns could be caused by serving sows when not on heat, poor semen handling or poor uterine environment. The group also learned that failure to farrow could be caused by bad scanning technique, pseudo pregnancy or infection.

Nigel Bennett of Schippers then gave guidance on pregnancy scanning and trainees practiced on their sows. Think of the scanner as a torch, he said, and shine the beam through the area you want to scan. Producers should place the scanner on the second teat from the back and avoid the bladder, as the bladder and foetuses both show up as small black objects. Plus, it’s important use scanning gel with the scanner, not water, and keep the equipment clean. Aim to scan at four weeks to get the best picture.

Click here for the pictures…

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

BPEX PhD student hunts for pig with best legs

Move over Elle Macpherson – the search is now on for the pig with the best legs as part of a new research project to improve the health and welfare of pigs on farms across the UK.

The study, being led by Newcastle University and jointly-funded by BPEX, was set up to see if we can predict from an early age whether a pig is at risk of becoming lame, simply by analysing the way it walks.

Using video motion capture – a technique similar to that used in animation for Hollywood blockbusters such as Avatar and Lord of the Rings – the team measured changes in the pigs’ gait, focussing on the angle of the joints and length of stride.

By assessing what constitutes ‘normal’ gait in pigs, the team reveals how the system could be used to reduce lameness, improving health and welfare on farms, reducing costs and improving sustainability.

Presenting the findings at the 22nd International Pig Veterinary Society Congress in Korea, Sophia Stavrakakis, who carried out the research as part of her PhD, said that for a pig, a great set of legs isn’t just about looking good.

“Lameness among livestock is a major problem for farmers,” says Sophia, whose project brings together experts in pig science and bioengineering at Newcastle University.

For more click here