The chair of Sask Pork, Florian Possberg says pork producers should take advantage of the warm summer temperatures to prepare for a heightened risk of PED virus as the weather begins to turn colder.
In mid-July Saskatchewan’s Chief Veterinary Officer reported a sample taken from a truck in Saskatchewan hauling pigs in Manitoba and Ontario, and washed in Ontario as suspicious. Follow-up tests at the National Lab in Winnipeg were inconclusive and the truck did not move pigs after washing, but the incident indicates the need for stepped up sanitation.

Possberg says during a recent visit to the U.S., a 25 hundred sow operation estimated it cost $400,000 over one month when PED virus hit it, and losses can rise on operations that re-break or affected by other diseases that can more easily infect a weakened herd.

He says while no small thing in the United States, in the United States alone it’s estimated PED has killed some eight million piglets, while wreaking havoc not only in the United States but Mexico, Japan, Korea, and China.
“Even though in the summertime we tend to see fewer active cases in areas where PED is active it’s still there,” Possberg says. “Reports show the U.S. has additional cases every week.”

It’s particularly important for the industry in Saskatchewan and elsewhere, if free, to not only stay free but to make sure to prepare well. Because it appears this virus spreads much easier in colder times of the year so getting the game up and increasing protection into the fall season, is a must.

Possberg says if the industry can keep the virus out of herds in Saskatchewan, it reduces the risk for neighboring producers in the province and for producers in adjoining provinces.

Saskatchewan is one of the places in North America where authorities have not found an active case of PED in any farm.

“That we believe has much to do with the level of bio-security enforced in our industry here,” he said. “We know of producers and I know our own operation, we not only use a high level of washes for any trucks coming to our farms but we also have the trucks and trailers washed that go into areas of the U.S. or eastern Canada that we know have active infections and that’s pretty standard in the industry now.”
Possberg says the industry is taking sanitation to a whole new level to not only protect the farms, but to protect others downstream, meaning where the trucks are going next.
Possberg says the industry learned some lessons from Circovirus a few years ago, putting them to good use in addressing other diseases.

“And, through the Canadian Swine Health Board, upping our bio-security is quite successful,” he adds. •
— By Harry Siemens