Spring is coming fast, so before planting gets underway take some time to conduct an internal site assessment as part of the PQA Plus Site Assessment criteria.
Animal care starts with having confidence in facilities and ventilation systems that safeguard health in all weather conditions. Testing emergency backup equipment at the start of a new year is a good preventative practice.
Around the same time as the world was pondering Y2K, the swine industry was pondering a new production system for feeder pigs. Traditionally, producers had transferred newly weaned pigs to specialized nursery facilities for the first 6 to 8 weeks after weaning.
A new quality assurance program was released in March 2017. This year, the National Pork Board transitioned to Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) and will no longer be administering Youth Pork Quality Assurance Plus (YPQA) by the end of 2017.
What makes the swine industry so special? I believe it is the many people that work in it: family members, managers, and all the barn employees. Being a swine caregiver, or a swine technician, can be a rewarding occupation.
It is up to each U.S. producer to determine their own personal investment in a hospital pen, however, producers in other countries may have a required minimum area for these pens mandated. Both sow welfare and caregiver efficiency can be improved by giving careful thought to hospital pen characteristics within group housed sow pens.
Let’s take a moment to consider one of the animal observations from the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) Site Assessment and its impacts. Recommendations exist in facility planning books about the square footage for an animal at each phase of production. However, these recommendations are simply a starting point at achieving animal comfort and maximizing the efficiency of your building. The challenge we sometimes forget is that recommendations are formed based on some assumptions and certain sizes of animals.
When sorting out the causes of respiratory signs in pig groups, veterinarians and animal caretakers can often differentiate between illness caused by Influenza A Virus (IAV) and that resulting from Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome Virus (PRRSV). Clinical signs, incidence rates, and rapidity of onset can be clues to the causes.
Microbiology may not be what comes to mind initially when you think about swine production practices, but recent research may hold the key to making changes based on the veterinary feed directive regulations (effective January 1, 2017). Bacterial populations located all along the gastrointestinal tract of animals, collectively referred to as the microbiome, play an integrative, symbiotic role with their swine hosts. Researchers have uncovered some clear data that demonstrates beneficial effects on several factors of swine production, including increased feed:gain ratio, growth performance, and decreased pathogen load. The production effects are primarily attributed to reducing post-weaning stress and altering the microbiome with non-traditional feed additives.
A biofilter is an air filtration system that uses a layer of microbes on a support media to filter gases from the air exiting a livestock facility. The support media can be a wide variety of material but is most often woodchips. This article outlines the design considerations and cost to construct a slanted bed biofilter for a pit fan on the new South Dakota State University Swine Education and Research Facility wean-finish unit.