The August edition of Pork News and Views, which is published in Better Pork magazine, highlights a few important and time-relevant issues that producers may be facing. The opening article on Heat Stress in pigs during the summer months talks about the causes and solutions to this industry-wide problem. Pigs do not have conventional sweat glands which makes it very difficult for them to excrete the excess heat that their body absorbs in the summer months. This can lead to many problems such as; lower feed intake/growth, less fertility, and motility in sows and boars, as well as mortality in extreme cases.

John Molenhuis, Business Analysis and Cost of Production Specialist with OMAFRA, wrote an informative article on planning out your cost of production in great detail so that you can accurately estimate costs. This is very helpful for any type of producer as it is laid out step by step throughout the production cycle and includes individual costs. This is intended to be template that you can input your own numbers and averages to formulate an accurate cost of production.

The OMAFRA livestock teams also welcome aboard Michelle Linington at our new Feed Ingredient and By-Product Specialist. Check out her bio on page 1. 

To view the entire August issue of Pork News & Views click here.

The Ontario Animal Health Swine Network (OAHN swine network) as part of CSHIN (Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network) has been asked to help distribute information on CanSpotASF and the first tool being launched in an ASF surveillance pilot project.  This will enable Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Network (CAHSN) labs such as the Animal Health Lab (AHL) in Guelph to conduct “Risk-based early detection testing” on samples submitted to the lab that meet eligibility criteria.  The goal of this surveillance project is geared at early detection of disease if ASF were to be detected in Canada.

CanSpotASF is an enhanced passive surveillance system designed to detect ASF early, ease the transition to outbreak surveillance if required and it aims to protect the commercial swine sector from ASF impacts. As a producer, you can help ensure a successful early detection of African swine fever and limit the extensive impacts that this disease would have on the Canadian swine sector.

You can help with African swine fever surveillance!
Before mortality is seen, ASF can look like other diseases commonly found in your barn. ASF surveillance aims to ensure early detection and rapid response, while avoiding spread of disease. Therefore, surveillance is one important tool to protect the commercial domestic swine sector.

How may my swine operation be a part of the ASF surveillance?
Part of the plan to enhance early detection of ASF is for approved laboratories to test. Therefore, samples from your farm sent to diagnostic laboratories for routine testing may also be selected to rule-out ASF. For example, if your veterinarian suspects a PRRS problem in your barn, and submits samples to confirm the diagnosis, the laboratory may do an extra test for ASF.

What happens if a laboratory rule-out test is positive?
The ASF test is very good; however, no laboratory test is perfect and in very rare cases a laboratory test can be positive without the disease present – this is known as a false positive. To ensure that the first confirmed case of ASF in Canada is a true case, a positive test is followed by further tests and thorough investigation:

  • Additional ASF tests will be performed at the CFIA’s National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease laboratory in Winnipeg. This may require collecting samples from additional pigs.
  • A local CFIA veterinarian, along with your farm veterinarian, will immediately check the health of your animals. This may be through a phone call or a farm visit.
  • CFIA will place movement restrictions on your farm while awaiting the additional test results
    (48 to 96 hours expected wait time).
  • If ASF is confirmed by further testing and investigation, CFIA will maintain movement restrictions on your farm and initiate response activities.

CanSpotASF Toolbox:
The CanSpotASF toolbox provides several tools that can be implemented by region and population. Implementation will be stepwise and prioritized based on risk and logistical feasibility. Enhanced surveillance will be an iterative process and will include pilot projects; more tools may be added as implementation progresses.

    • Rule-out testing at Canadian labs approved for ASF testing
    • Risk-based testing in provincially- and federally-inspected slaughterhouses
    • Outreach
    • Small-holder networks
    • Education
    • Sample submissions
    • Wild pig stakeholder network
    • Enhanced sampling capacity

Attached you will find two PDF files with further information:

If you have any specific questions about this project please don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian.

The current heat and humidity levels are forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. In these conditions it is inevitable that pigs will be exposed to heat stress conditions, and thus It is important to ensure you are providing ways for your pigs to cope. The following figure shows when heat stress occurs in grow finish pigs relative to both temperature and humidity levels.

A chart showing at what temperature and humidity levels grow-finish pigs experience heat stress

OMAFRA Swine Specialists developed a factsheet detailing how heat stress occurs, signs your pigs are experiencing heat stress and strategies to cope with it. OMAFRA Factsheet 17-039 “Avoiding Production Losses in Swine Due to Heat Stress” can be found by visiting the Ontario.ca/publications website or by clicking here. It is also attached to this blog post in PDF format for your convenience.

OMAFRA Factsheet 17-039 – Heat Stress in Swine


It is also important to ensure that staff working in barns during these hot and humid days are able to take plenty of breaks and stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water!

This year the OMAFRA swine team is putting together an informative booth on key components of the swine industry. The OPC online trade show will be up until the end of 2020 so to keep attendees of the show coming back, our information will be updated weekly. You can expect to see topics such as: biosecurity, hog market information, Pork News and Views, and many more. If you would like to take a look at our booth follow this link.

Image of the floorplan of Ontario Pork Congress

This summer the Ontario Pork Congress has been able to display their entire show in a virtual format. This annual event showcases a large number of local business involved in the swine industry and is always very well attended. The purpose of the OPC is to bring together producers so they can see new technology and products that are offered from booths that are at the event. The event usually is run at the Stratford Agriplex and it is currently the 47th year of the show.

Screenshot of the OMAFRA ‘booth’ at Ontario Pork Congress

WOODSTOCK — The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $10 million in emergency assistance for beef and hog farmers. The funding will help cover the increased costs of feeding market ready cattle and hogs due to COVID-19 related processing delays, while redirecting surplus pork products to help those in need. This program will help ensure the country’s food supply chain will remain strong and ready to recover as the economy gradually and safely reopens.

Read full release

LSC Youtube Channel is hosting this video of a webinar organized by Ontario Pork Industry Council (OPIC) and sponsored by South West Ontario Vet Services. It may be of interest to anyone working in agriculture today, and not just the pork industry. Description: With the unprecedented times we are living in during COVID 19, each of us are feeling the impacts on our daily life. Stress abounds. But resilience is present too. We invite you to join us for a webinar on stress and resilience during uncertain times, with certified crisis trainer, Shawna Percy, Life Voice Canada. Shawna will guide the group through tips to help us cope. Topics include: – Managing stress during uncertainty – Resilience building – Exploring your resources – Q & A

Link to webinar on YouTube

Some do’s and don’t’s are provided on Pigprogress.net on how to deal with finisher pigs in overstocked pens. Read the article at Pig Progress.

The Ontario Pork Industry Council is staging a free webinar on April 28th from 12-1pm (registration is required to receive instructions on how to attend).

From the brochure (see below):

With the unprecedented times we are living in during COVID 19, each of us are feeling the impacts on our daily life. Stress abounds. But resilience is present too. We invite you to join us for a webinar on stress and resilience during uncertain times, with certified crisis trainer, Shawna Percy, Life Voice Canada. Shawna will guide the group through tips to help us cope.
Topics include:

  • Managing stress during uncertainty
  • Resilience building
  • Exploring your resources
  • Q & A

Webinar is FREE
Pre-registration is required
To register, contact: Donna Kaczmarczyk or
Tel: 519-272-1532 Fax: 519-272-2215
Email: dkaczmarczyk@Southwestvets.ca

Dr. David Hughes is Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London and Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural University, UK. In this video presentation, which was to have been presented at the 2020 London Swine Conference, he provides his views on “Tectonic Shifts in Global Protein Markets: What Does it Mean for Us?! – With Some Thoughts on the Impact for Meat of the Covid-19 Pandemic”.

Click below to watch the video:

Do you house pigs outdoors? Are you thinking of housing pigs outdoors? Are you trying to keep pigs off of your property or away from your barns? If so, this factsheet should be high on your reading list.

Anyone that has ever raised pigs knows just how destructive and smart they can be. They will go under, over or through fences if given the opportunity to do so. This factsheet provides guidance on building fencing suitable for pig containment and exclusion. This includes fencing to keep pigs with outdoor access on your property, and/or fencing to keep feral pigs away from your livestock and crops.

The factsheet can be found online at Ontario.ca or by clicking here.

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Steel and Wire.