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NADIS Pig Veterinary Report and Forecast – March 2007

by 5m Editor
15 March 2007, at 10:28am

UK - This is a monthly report from the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS), looking at the data collected from their UK farm inspections.

The final analysis shows the following breakdown of NADIS monitored breeding herds:


INDOOR OUTDOOR

No: Sows No: herds Av herd size No: Sows No: herds Av herd size
Breeding Only 2,440 4 610 18,170 23 790
Breeder Weaner 15,161 25 606 6,552 11 595
Breeder Feeder 57,805 157 369 7,886 21 375
TOTAL 75,406 186 405 32,608 55 593

No figures are available for the national herd on the split by breeding herd type.

The breakdown of feeding herds is also not available nationally but within the NADIS monitored population the following distribution applies. (Feeding pigs = weaners + grower/finishers).

No’s and percentages of NADIS monitored feeding pigs kept on farms in England

No of pigs % of monitored population No of farms % of farms monitored
Breeder 5,515 0.5% 28 7%
Breeder Feeder 635,540 62% 194 47.5%
Breeder Weaner 81,605 8% 36 8.5%
Nursery 25,913 2.5% 14 3%
Finishing Sites 153,552 15% 98 23%
Nursery / Finisher 120,812 12% 45 11%
TOTALS 1,022,907 100% 415 100%

- Breeder only farms retain occasional pigs that are unmarketable or that are awaiting sale.

Summary As at February 2007
  1. NADIS is monitoring 30% of the English sow population and 35% of the feeding herd population.
  2. The NADIS monitored population roughly mirrors the regional distribution of pigs although there is some overrepresentation of the NE of England (East of the Pennines from Lincolnshire to Northumbria) and underrespresentation in the South West.
  3. The East/West split of the country reveals 23% in the west and 77% in the East nationally and 16% in the West and 84% in the East within NADIS (by sow numbers). Growing herd figures are similar.
  4. NADIS figures show that the monitored breeding herds totalling 257, hold 30% of the national herd.
  5. Within the feeding herd 29.5% of the total population are kept on separate sites to that on which they were born. The remaining 70.5% of pigs spend all or some of their time growing on their farm of origin (with breeding animals).

ADULTS

Fertility issues continue to occupy the attention at many veterinary visits with a range of problems identified.

A number of herds have been experiencing reduced numbers of sows farrowing and lower litter size relating to sows served in September. Following on from the problems caused by heat stress in July of last year, autumn infertility has not been expected to be a major issue. The fact that these problems have been highlighted at the farrowing stage and by records, suggests that any rise in returns to service may have gone unoticed.

Low fertility in one boar and poor semen quality elsewhere were believed to account for other infertility problems.

Management around the service period was highlighted as causing problems where large group sizes at weaning led to problems of oestrous detection/onset.

Away from the production side health problems included respiratory disease in incoming gilts, testicular swelling in a boar of unknown aetiology (possibly PRRS) and constipation in outdoor sows thought to be associated with high intake of soil whilst feeding in very muddy conditions.

Within the farrowing areas, savaging was reported as a significant problem associated with a change of stock source, and, in outdoor herds, fox predation has been a problem.

PIGLETS

Scour has been the predominant feature in suckling pigs and whilst the occasional cases of non-specific and rotaviral scour have been seen, the predominant problem has been coccidosis. This disease is believed to be present and requiring treatment on 60% of breeding farms monitored and recent reports suggest that it is not just the summer problem often thought.

Respiratory disease in late suckling pigs continues to be an issue for some herds and may be related to Glassers disease, which is frequently reported in the feeding herd.

WEANERS

Scour and respiratory disease continue to feature prominently in weaners. Ecoli enteritis and later ileitis are the main culprits causing scour although gastric ulceration is occasionally reported.

Glassers disease and Actinobacillus pleuropneumonia are the predominant causes of respiratory disease where a cause is identified.

Damage in the form of ear tip necrosis and greasy pig disease along with outbreaks of tail biting were prominent and are thought to have occurred following disruption to air flow patterns and draughts during periods of windy weather.

Kyphosis (dipped shoulder/humped back) was reported in 2 unrelated farms as a significant problem in growing pigs. A genetic cause was suspected in both.

GROWERS/FINISHERS

Somewhat surprisingly, respiratory disease did not feature prominently in anecdotal reports in February despite weather conditions more typical of winter. However, Glassers Disease continues to feature in both clinical problems and at slaughter.

Enteric problems dominated the reports and included cases of swine dysentery, sudden deaths associated with bloody gut (PHE) – an acute reaction to Lawsonia infections not commonly seen nowadays, gastric ulceration and late onset PMWS.

Colitis was reported to have reduced in one case following a move outdoors to cleaner ground.

It is interesting to note that PMWS as a specific entity does not seem to feature as much currently and may relate to the widespread use of different boar lines, although some producers are finding that some breed lines give a greater benefit in terms of disease resistance that others – the Hampshire apparently providing the greatest benefit.

In response to enquiries relating to later mortality, brief enquiry has shown that on some farms there is a consistent level of mortality with 67% occurring below 60kg and the remainder during later stages. In others highly variable pictures are reported with surges of late deaths followed by quieter periods. The general theme is that it is not normal recording practice for mortality to be split within the finishing herd and there is a general reluctance to accurately analyse such patterns in the absence of any perceived problems.

One large finishing unit experiencing high levels of lameness was identified with epiphysiolysis (separation of the head of the thigh bone) believed to be associated unsuitable genetic stock on slippery floors.

5m Editor