Archive for October, 2014

This article was originally posted on Field Crop News (http://fieldcropnews.com/2014/10/2014-grain-corn-ear-mould-and-vomitoxin-survey). Written by Greg Stewart and Albert Tenuta.

The OMAFRA Field Crops team has completed the survey of the 2014 Ontario corn crop to determine ear mould incidence and the occurrence of mycotoxins in the grain. These mycotoxins, particularly vomitoxin (DON) produced primarily by Gibberella/Fusarium ear moulds, are grading factors and can be disruptive when fed to livestock, especially hogs.

202 samples were collected from October 14 to October 17, 2014 from corn fields across the province. In each field, 2 random areas were selected: in each area 10 consecutive ears were hand harvested and bagged. In fields with several hybrids, representative samples were taken from two areas for each hybrid (maximum of 4 hybrids per field). The 20-ear samples were then immediately dried and shelled. The resultant sample was thoroughly mixed and a sub-sample provided to A&L Laboratories in London for vomitoxin (DON) analysis.

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Doug RichardsDouglas Richards, Swine Specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, was announced as the winner of the Ontario Pork Congress Industry Leadership Award on October 20 in Stratford at the Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Pork Congress (OPC).

Frank Hogervorst, 2013/2014 President of Ontario Pork Congress, commented that he had never seen a more detailed and succinct nomination form outlining career and personal accomplishments during his time on the Executive. Frank quoted Doug’s nominators: “Doug’s most significant achievement is best described as outstanding communication of ideas, new technology and information both internally throughout the swine section and externally as a representative of the sector”.

Richards thanked Hogervorst for the award saying that he especially enjoyed working and volunteering in the pork industry as clients and colleagues often became close friends and he felt that was unique to the pork industry. He also shared the evolution of his career and a few entertaining experiences over those 34 years.

The Pork Industry Leadership Award is awarded annually to an individual who has given freely of his/her time and provided distinguished service to the Ontario Pork Industry and community.

The Ontario Pork Congress has been in existence since 1973 and has a goal of bringing together all segments of the pork industry and to showcase what it has to offer. To learn more about Ontario Pork Congress, visit www.porkcongress.on.ca.

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OSHAB Big Bug Day Presentations from the keynote speakers can be seen at http://www.opic.on.ca/publications/oshab-presentations

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The following report was published in the October issue of the Pork News and Views newsletter. Selected resources from the Workshop Manual are available at www.ontariopork.ca under “Production Standards-Animal Care Resources” or www.prairieswine.com.

Sow Housing Workshop



OMAFRA, with support from Ontario Pork and Prairie Swine Centre (PSC), held a very successful Group Sow Housing Workshop this past September in Stratford. The one-day workshop was presented on consecutive days and limited to 50 participants each day to allow for greater participation and discussion. It provided practical information on group sow management, sow feeding systems and helped answer questions about renovations and new design which followed the new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs that was released in Canada this past spring. Three Ontario producers described their experiences transitioning to group sow housing systems followed by Dr. Jennifer Brown and Dr. Yolande Seddon, Prairie Swine Centre Group Sow Housing researchers, discussing the merits of each system. Dr. Kees de Lange, University of Guelph, explained how feeding systems need to change for a successful transition to feeding sows in group housing. The following is a brief report on the workshop.


New Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs




The new Code was released in March this year. Dr. Brown presented an overview of relevant areas. It includes changes to sow housing, pain management, space allowances, and environmental enrichment. For new construction there is a requirement that by July 1, 2014 mated gilts and sows must be housed in groups, with allowances around breeding and group management. As of July 1, 2024, gilts and sows must be housed in groups, or in individual pens, or in stalls if they are provided with the opportunity to turn around or exercise periodically, or otherwise have greater freedom of movement (suitable options will be clarified by July 1, 2019 based on scientific evidence). The Code is available at: www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/pigs.


National Sow Housing Conversion Project (NSHCP)

Dr. Brown also presented a summary of a project that will develop and document demonstration sites across the country to provide resources and advice for producers, and to create a central database of information. Producers will be able to see examples and evaluate different group housing systems. The project is looking for producers interested in barn renovations for group housing in 2015-2016, and who would be interested in sharing herd information and renovation documentation. In exchange, producers will receive: expert advice on renovation planning, management; training assistance with funding applications; and compensation for research barn access.


Group Housing with ESF

Mr. Doug Ahrens presented his experiences in setting up a system using Electronic Sow Feeding (ESF) and dynamic group housing. Dr. Brown then provided a comparison of group housing vs. individual stalls, and the possible impacts on sow welfare and production levels. She outlined the options available for group housing (feeding system, flooring, grouping strategy, grouping timing). In all there are 72 combinations of these factors that could be used:

What are the options?*

Feeding Floor Grouping Timing Total
Short stall Slat Static Weaning
Gated stall Partial Dynamic Pre-Implantation
ESF Bedded Post-Implantation
4 x3 x2 x3 =72

*From H. Gonyou


She compared aspects of the options and reported a Quebec industry analysis of the cost of conversion for different housing options, and the floor space requirements of the different feed systems. Acknowledging that early attempts with ESF systems encountered several challenges, she pointed out that technology, equipment design, and our own familiarity with computers has come a long way in 20 years. There is an increasing number of manufacturers, growing expertise, and a competitive market with new developments expected.

The possible advantages of dynamic mixing she highlighted were: more flexible and efficient use of space; sows can be added over 10 weeks (but at least 10 sows each time); if a sow returns, she can enter in the next cycle; less overall space is required (fewer pens and alleys). Among the disadvantages is the potential for repeated aggression on mixing, but if mixing is well managed aggression can be kept low.

Mr. John Van Engelen presented his experience in converting stalls to a group housing system using ESF. Dr. Seddon followed with an overview of pen configurations and management strategies to consider when implementing ESF. A common problem is that of ‘sow recycling’, when sows repeatedly enter the ESF system to try to get more feed. This reduces sow throughput, can cause some sows to miss a feeding, create stress and competition, and increase wear and tear on the equipment. Steps to reduce recycling include designing the layout so it is farther to walk to regain access (e.g. by using a dividing wall), using a shutter or retractable feed bowl, and ensuring feeders are not overstocked.

Dr. Seddon illustrated a number of barn designs and rules of thumb when considering the layout of ‘bedroom’ lying areas, alleyways and areas of passing, conserving space (especially when converting from an existing barn footprint), and the importance of flooring to sow leg health. The importance of training was emphasized, and a number of tips provided. Both producers who spoke about ESF indicated that training had been a challenge and that starting with their gilts would have been a better approach. She concluded with some good general management and grouping strategies.


Competitive Feeding Systems

Mr. Geert Geene provided information on his group housing system using a trough based drop feed system. Dr. Seddon followed with and outline of different competitive feedings systems, space considerations, and pen design and management strategies. Floor feeding vs. non gated stall systems, different flooring types, and building space requirements were compared. Although there is generally lower capital costs compared to ESF, there are challenges around controlling individual feeding and dominant sows. With careful management and observation these can be managed, but this probably requires more labour than an ESF system. She provided a comprehensive overview of factors to consider when making a decision, including barn design, feeder types, and space allowances.


Sow Nutrition

Dr. de Lange presented a thorough overview of “Nutrition for group sow housing”. He starting with the observations that, while the number of pigs born has increased, it is lightweight pigs that have increased, and that birth weight influences body weight at market time. This led to his outline of strategies to improve gestation feeding to improve sow lifetime productivity through an increase in piglet birth weight with increasing litter size, while controlling feed costs, improving sow welfare, and decreasing nutrient losses to the environment. Recommended interventions are ‘bump feeding’ of no more than 0.40 kg/d during late gestation, and the use of fiber sources to induce satiety and reduce abnormal behaviour.

He outlined some nutritional aspects of different feeding systems for group housing and their varying requirements for space, capital investment, and operator skill. He suggests that ESF offers the most potential for the dynamic and precision feeding of individual sows.



The workshop was well attended and generated a lot of questions and good discussion on the producer reports and the options and issues presented by the three researchers.

The manual included handouts from the presenters and a number of relevant resources including excerpts from the Code of Practice and factsheets and information on sow housing and behaviour from the Prairie Swine Centre. Selected resources are available at www.ontariopork.ca under “Production Standards-Animal Care Resources” or www.prairieswine.com.

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Farm & Food Care is launching the Ontario-wide Farm Invention Challenge with $9,000 in cash prizes available for winning entries in the categories of animal care or water efficiency/quality improvements.
A. Animal Care
1. Large farm gadgets and gizmos – Whether it`s welding up a new attachment for your skid steer or designing a whole new feeding system, share with us your large scale farm innovations.
2. Small farm gadgets and gizmos – Have you ever fixed something with a rubber band or used a cotter pin in an unusual way? We want to hear about the simple fixes that have revolutionized animal care on your farm.
3. Farm hacks – Tell us how you have made simple changes around your barn to save time and headaches on your farm.

B. Water Efficiency & Quality
4. Water quality and nutrient management – What changes to equipment or practices have led to improved water quality and less nutrient runoff from farm lands? Share your ideas that help Ontario farmers better manage nutrients and minimize off-site impacts on surface and ground water quality.
5. Water use efficiency – Have you built a custom control system or use a different moisture sensor system to minimize overuse of water? Enter your equipment ideas or conservation practices that are working to improve the use of water around your farm.
6. Community/other – Tell us about your community organized or farm group projects that have helped to protect and/or improve water resources in your area.

• $1,000 first prize in each category
• $500 second prize in each category
Click the link for full contest eligibility and application forms.


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Visit the OMAFRA website for the September Swine Budgets. 

You may also be interested in the interactive swine budget worksheets. These are excel worksheets for Ontario swine producers to calculate the income, variable costs and fixed costs for farrow to finish, farrow to wean, farrow to feeder, nursery, wean to finish and grower to finish operations.


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October 2, 2014

So far this week
The Ontario Base Market Hog Price is averaging $221.35/ckg, 100 index, up $6.97/ckg from last week’s average.
This is based on a CME Constructed weekly average price of US$109.36/cwt. (up US$2.64/cwt. from last week) and a Canadian dollar weekly average of 89.54 cents (down 00.67 cents from last week’s average).

Today’s Daily Prices are:
• Ontario Base Market Hog Price – C$221.99ckg, 100 index
• CME Constructed Price – US$109.85/cwt.
• Noon-Hour Bank of Canada Canadian Dollar value – 89.68 cents

The USDA Pork Cut-out Value is averaging US$121.49/cwt which is up US$4.01/cwt. from last week’s average with the all primals up.
US slaughter cracked the 2 million mark the last three weeks but remains 5.4% below last year for the same weeks. Weights continue to run up 8 pounds from last year.
Ontario market hog sales year to date continue to be up 3.4% over last year. First quarter sales were up 2%, second quarter up 5% and third quarter is up 3.2% to-date (12 weeks). Dressed weights continue to avg. just above 100 kg

Current daily movement in the pork cut-out, cash price and nearby futures indicate next week’s price movement could be sideways to up slightly.
OSHAB Big Bug Day – October 15, 2014, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, Arden Park Hotel, Stratford
Please pre-register with Donna at 519-272-1532 or dkaczmarczyk@southwestvets.ca

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View the original at Ontario Pork, posted Sept. 19th.

Since the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) entered Ontario in January 2014, Ontario Pork has been working together with producers, government and industry to inform, educate, research and develop strategies to help manage this disease.


  • Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) is a viral disease causing vomiting, diarrhea, and high death loss in pigs. In nursing piglets the disease can be severe with mortalities reported up to 100%. In growing pigs, there is widespread diarrhea with low mortality. It thrives in cold weather.
  • On January 22, 2014 the first case of PED was discovered in Ontario.
  • On January 28, 2014 the provincial government committed $2 million to Ontario Pork to improve biosecurity measures across the province and the federal government created a dedicated biosecurity funding stream under Growing Forward 2 specifically for the swine industry.
  • On February 9, 2014, an announcement by an Ontario feed company pointed to swine feed made with animal by-products as a possible source of entry for the disease into Canada.
  • To date there have been 63 positive cases of PEDv, one variant PED strain case as well as 7 cases of Deltacrononavirus in Ontario.

We are taking a leadership role as industry.  We have already committed significant resources to PED prevention and preparedness. Emergency support funds and flexibility within the existing government suite of programs are fundamental to the success of this plan.

  • Funds have been made available to all PED-positive producers for biosecurity assessments, diagnostic testing, and development of plans to eliminate PED from their site(s) through:
    • Provincial veterinary clinics
  • Of the 63 confirmed cases, a number of them have produced PED negative test results post biosecurity assessment, and cleanup plan. This information is being compiled and will be reported on when completed.
  • Four applied research projects have been initiated.
Survival and Transmission of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus on Single Site Farrow to Finish Farms This study of 10 single site farrow to finish farms with PED will have environmental samples collected from all major production areas to determine the presence or absence of PED.  Where all environmental samples are negative the farm will be re-sampled monthly.  A minimum of 6 farms where environmental samples test positive for PED will be enrolled in a study to determine the replication, transmission, and ecology of PED.
Comparing the Effectiveness of Common Disinfection Protocols for PED The goal of this study is to determine under what conditions disinfection of PED will consistently result in PCR negative results.  Further four commonly used disinfectants for the control of PED will be compared in this study, Virkon®, Synergize®, bleach and lime, on two different surfaces (concrete and aluminum) for three different time periods.
Development of PED control and elimination strategies for farrowing sites with growing pigs The hypothesis of this project is that PED can be controlled and eliminated from farrowing sites with growing pigs on site.  This study will involve seven sites and will assess and tabulate actions that must be accomplished at a farrow – growing pig site to decide whether PED elimination is feasible.
Development of strategies to enhance PED containment in positive growing pigs This project involving six farms will test the hypothesis that negative finishers can be produced from positive sow site/nursery sources, and grow-finishers that were previously positive can produce negative finishers.


  • A research study is being conducted by the George Morris Centre on an innovative transport hot wash facility.
  • Surveillance sampling at federal and select provincial processing plants has been conducted to determine the prevalence of PED:
    • 448 samples were taken between May 16-September 15, 2014
    • 10 positive samples
    • No new cases after trace back performed
  • Biosecurity assessments of federal and select provincial processing plants were conducted:
    • Biosecurity gaps were identified
    • Improvements are being implemented with the majority being completed before the winter.
  • Financial assistance has been provided for the operation of a swine transport wash facility for dedicated PED-positive or suspect trailers:
    • 62 surveillance samples were taken between May-September, 2014 with two positive tests confirmed and resulted in no new cases being found after trace back investigation.
  • Numerous communications on PED and related topics for producers, industry and general public have been initiated
    • Four telephone town halls since January
    • 20 PED email notifications
    • Three mailers with pertinent PED information to critical access points (producers, processors/ abattoirs, transporters/truckers, assembly yards and deadstock operators)
    • Over 80 interviews conducted on PED-related topics
    • Producer and industry meetings

What’s next:

  • Further upgrading of biosecurity protocols at critical access control points
    • Processor improvements (upgrading loading chutes and areas)
  • Continuing applied research projects to better understand PED
    • Phase 2 of initial research projects if required or new projects may be considered.
  • Communication campaign for fall/winter for cold weather preparation
    • Producer and industry meetings
  • Continued surveillance at processing plants will be conducted:
    • Continued random sampling of known negative sites to monitor PED prevalence in Ontario
    • Begin to focus on known positive sites to determine if PED can be detected on the trailers at the processors
  • Surveillance at transport and assembly yards
    • Perform transport and assembly audits to address this critical control access point

Things to remember:

  • As we enter the fall months, the colder weather provides perfect conditions for PEDv to thrive. Don’t let a resurgence of PED occur:
    • Maintain farm level biosecurity
    • Ensure washing and disinfection procedures are followed
    • Use washed and disinfected trailers for transport when possible
    • Maintain open communication with veterinarians

All of the above work could not have been possible without the financial commitment from the Ontario government. Ontario Pork has been coordinating the efforts of the PED Working Group consisting of representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario Association of Swine Veterinarians, Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board and  University of Guelph to ensure the funds are allocated and used in the best possible way. We commend our producer and industry partners who have cooperated and participated in our efforts to manage this disease.

If you have any questions, please contact the Ontario Pork office at 877-668-7675.

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