Weekly Overview: New Approach Improves Pigs' Health, Reduces Antibiotic Use

18 April 2016, at 6:00a.m.

ANALYSIS - UK pig producers could reduce antibiotic usage and improve the health and productivity of pigs on the farm by adopting a new approach which has already proved successful in the poultry industry.

The approach, developed by St David’s veterinary team, is based on improving the animals’ natural health through a combination of probiotics, organic acids and water sanitation.

Through its Applied Bacterial Control (ABC) programme, St David’s looks closely at all husbandry factors that influence this microbiome, and develops a bespoke strategy to boost natural gut health and reduce the need for routine antibiotic treatments.

In other news, Chinese pork prices are still sky high, with the price during the last week of March 2016 still over 20/kg ($3.09/kg), reported Genesus.

As is usual, prices in the South West of the country were highest due to a high population and a lower supply of corn.

At the start of March 2016 farmers that are used to breaking even or losses were boasting profits of over 800rmb ($124) a pig.

The main reason for the continuing high prices seems to be simply the low supply of pigs/sows.

In disease news, African Swine Fever (ASF) has been reported in farmed pigs in Ukraine and Kenya. Two cases were reported in Kalagiya village in the Odessa region of Ukraine and 52 cases on a farm in a farm in Kiamumbi, Kenya. The outbreak in Kenya is thought to be due to the feeding of swill.

ASF was also reported in wild boar in Lithuania and Poland.