Archive for January, 2016

Since the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) entered Ontario on January 22, 2014, the Ontario Pork Industry has been working together to help manage this disease. Positive cases have been limited to 87 cases. Good biosecurity practices, increased vigilance and strong clean-up efforts have resulted in limiting the spread of the disease.  Although it’s that cold and snowy time of year, don’t let your biosecurity guard down. Be vigilant and keep your herd protected and healthy!

Clinical Signs Include

  • Sudden onset of watery diarrhea +/- vomiting in all ages of pigs
  • High mortality in piglets

If you suspect that your pigs may be infected with PED virus, contact your veterinarian immediately. He or she will provide strategies to help you to manage the disease. Be vigilant and watch for early signs of scouring. Animal Health Lab Submission Forms for PED.

On-Farm Biosecurity

Biosecurity procedures need to become routine business practices. Implementing strict on-farm biosecurity protocols can prevent PED from infecting your pigs. Proper biosecurity measures should include protocols that address animal, supply and personnel movements. Take some time to read through your procedures, ensuring they are correct and in place. Then take the time to review the policies and procedures with staff, highlighting the importance of biosecurity for your herd.

Transportation Biosecurity

PED virus is highly infectious and can be easily spread to farms through contaminated trailers. You should ensure that only washed and disinfected trailers come on to your farm to pick up or deliver live animals.

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What are Ontario’s Worst Weeds???? Your input will help decide. Results of this survey will highlight weed trends and concerns in Ontario. Your participation is appreciated.

Source: Ontario’s Worst Weeds – have your say!

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certificationf10The Canadian Organic Growers (COG) will be hosting a second round of webinars in February to bring people up to speed on the changes to the Canadian Organic Standards:

“The revised Canadian Organic Standards were released Wednesday, November 25, 2015. To prepare Canadians for the changes, COG is offering a series of webinars on the changes called Changes to The Canadian Organic Standards – An Essential Update. These webinars were [originally] presented in the fall and highlighted important changes in the standards and allowed producers, certifiers and verification officers, among others, to ask questions and fully understand the revisions before they come into effect later this month.

The next round of webinars will be presented in February:

  • Crop Production: Tuesday, February 2, 7 PM Eastern Register here;
  • Livestock Production: Thursday, February 4, 7 PM Eastern Register here;
  • Preparation including Processing: Tuesday, February 9, 7 PM Eastern Register here.

For more information please visit COG National’s website and e-news for updates.”

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Recent barn fires in Ontario remind us how important it is to check for fire hazards in our barns. OMAFRA Publication 837 REDUCING THE RISK OF FIRE ON YOUR FARM  discusses leading causes of barn fires, ways to prevent fires and things you can do to reduce the impact of barn fires for all species of livestock.


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This year the F. X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production at the Banff Pork Seminar was shared by two winners; Steve’s Livestock for their innovations around hydraulic livestock trailers, and Sam Gelowitz from the Prairie Swine Centre for a Carcass Removal Cart.

Information about both winners will be posted on the Banff Pork Seminar website (www.banffpork.ca).


Prairie Swine Centre’s Carcass Removal Cart:

The carcass removal cart was designed with worker safety in mind. Previous deadstock carts utilized a vertical system to hoist carcasses, which becomes difficult and dangerous for barn workers. These carts usually require more than one staff member, and often become top heavy once a large market pig, sow or boar are loaded.

Sam Gelowitz, Maintenance Manager at the Prairie Swine Centre, recognized the need for a safer, easier to use system. His solution was to design a cart that could transport carcasses safely, and with the least amount of manual labour as possible. His design uses a 2000 lb capacity pallet jack, a simple roller system (used by many industries) and a 12 volt, 2000 lb winch. This design is 26.5 inches wide, and 5 feet long, and has a zero turn radius, allowing it to get into tight corners (such as behind farrowing crates). The roller system is welded onto the pallet jack, with the winch attached at the front to easily pull carcasses up onto the rollers.

The design of the cart has worked extremely well for the Prairie Swine Centre. The cart has reduced the risk of staff injury and increased the ability to remove dead animals quickly and easily, with fewer staff needed for the job.


FX Aherne 2

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From a Prairie Swine Centre release:

GroupSowHousing.com Launched

Saskatoon, SK, January 13, 2016.  Providing pork producers with the latest information on different types of group sow housing systems, a new website groupsowhousing.com has been launched with the goal of assisting the swine industry in the transition from stalls to groups.  With recent changes to Canada’s Pig Code of Practice all barns newly built or renovated to house gestating sows must utilize group housing, and all producers are encouraged to move to group housing by 2024.  According to Dr. Jennifer Brown the transition to group sow housing needs to be well thought out in advance in order to minimize costs, maintain production and ensure the best possible system is in place for the sows.  “It’s not a one size fits all approach, the website is intended to provide information and increase knowledge and confidence in the swine industry as people look towards making the change to group sow housing and away from stalls.”

Groupsowhousing.com sets out to compile the best science on how to manage sows in groups.  In addition it provides real world examples of producers who have successfully made the transition to group sow housing.  This includes documenting their rationale for the transition to groups, management of the new system, design and construction of group housing, and the costs involved.  According to Dr. Jennifer Brown “the producer experience is a key component of the website, as it gives other producers a clear idea of what’s involved in the transition.”

Producers looking for more information on transitioning to group sow housing will find resources dedicated to different feeding systems (competitive and non-competitive), grouping strategies, and training and management of gilts and sows under group systems.

GroupSowHousing.com is part of the National Sow Housing Conversion Project, funded in part through Swine Innovation Porc, much of the information being available in both official languages.  This project is funded by Swine Innovation Porc within the Swine Cluster 2: Driving Results Through Innovation research program. Funding is provided by Agriculture and Agri‐Food Canada through the AgriInnovation Program, provincial producer organizations and industry partners.

Prairie Swine Centre Inc., located near Saskatoon, is a non-profit research corporation affiliated with the University of Saskatchewan, and is recognized globally for its contributions to practical, applied science in pork production in the disciplines of nutrition, engineering and applied animal behaviour.



For more information, contact:

Dr. Jennifer Brown,

Research Scientist, Ethology

Prairie Swine Centre Inc 

Phone:  306-667-7442

Fax: 306-955-2510

E-mail: jennifer.brown@usask.ca

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Learn from pork producers who use direct marketing. Ontario pork producers from The Whole Pig and Thatcher Farms will share how they’ve built their businesses and what they’ve learned along the way, making it easier for you to start or improve your direct sales business.  Staff from Ontario Pork and OMAFRA will also offer resources they have available for you.

Join us for this lunch hour webinar.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Noon to 1 p.m.

To register, contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre (AICC):

Toll-Free : 1-877-424-1300

TTY : 1-855-696-2811

Email : ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca


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Job Ad: Student – Livestock Assistant – Swine

Organization:                      Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs
Division/Branch:               Economic Development Division / Agriculture Development Branch
Position Title:                      Student – Livestock Assistant – Swine
Job Term:                              Temporary (1 position) for up to 18 weeks
Location:                                Stratford OMAFRA Resource Centre
Salary:                                    $11.85 / hour, based on a 36.25 hour work week

Are you serious about making your mark, getting hands-on work experience and learning more about careers in the Ontario Public Service? This position will provide an excellent opportunity for those interested in a career in livestock production, research or the agricultural service sector. This position will provide the opportunity to learn about production systems within the livestock sectors in the province.


  • Assist with applied summer research and demonstration projects conducted by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) livestock staff.
  • Projects will focus on swine production, technology transfer and industry development.
  • Office work will include providing customer service assistance, assisting with issues management, research, data collection and management, assisting with the production of technical information such as newsletters, updating web pages, using social media, writing and reviewing fact sheets.
  • Conduct literature reviews and develop written reports and presentation materials on key initiatives.
  • Field work including assisting with the collection of data and/or samples for research projects.
  • Assist in the coordination of events, programs and projects (e.g. workshops, demonstrations, etc.) working with key stakeholders and clients in delivery of programs and information.

What we are looking for?  Please review the qualifications for this position:

  • Apply interpersonal skills to work within a multi-disciplinary team and participate in meetings.
  • Apply observational skills and attention to detail to conduct research, field monitoring and data entry.
  • Apply written communication skills to prepare a variety of documents (e.g. reports, factsheets, and articles).
  • Familiar with computer based software applications including MS Office, internet and database management software to perform data entry, conduct analysis, prepare reports, prepare information for the website, track and compile information.
  • Can work in barn environments with some light physical activity involved, including light lifting.
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team.
  • Can plan, organize and prioritize your work to meet competing deadlines.
  • Familiar with farming and livestock production.
  • Willing to travel to rural locations (frequently not accessible by public transportation).
  • Must have a minimum Ontario G2 Driver’s Licence.

How to Apply:

  • Demonstrate how you meet the eligibility criteria, skills and experience we are looking for clearly, completely and concisely. We rely on the information you provide to us.
  • You must be a resident of Ontario on the first day of employment.
  • You must be legally entitled to work in Canada.
  • You must be between 15 – 24 years of age (up to 29 with disability) on the first day of employment.
  • You must be a student (currently enrolled, returning in Sept. 2015, on academic break or graduated within 6 months of first day of employment).
  • Provide your cover letter and resume electronically in one file to laura.eastwood@ontario.ca in any of the following formats: PDF, WORD, plain or rich-text format (.pdf, .doc, .docx, .txt and .rtf). Although electronic applications are preferred, you can provide your cover letter and resume on paper to:

Laura Eastwood – Swine Specialist
Stratford OMAFRA Resource Centre,
63 Lorne Ave E., Suite 2B
Stratford, ON N5A 6S4;

If you have a disability and require accommodation to apply please contact Supervisor, Laura Eastwood at (519) 271-6280.

Closing Date
: Friday, January 15th, 2016

We thank all those who apply; however only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

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PED survives better in colder weather. Producers and truckers should review biosecurity and truck washing protocols. Information can found on the OMAFRA website. 

3 hogs in barn



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