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On Sept 6 and 7, 2016 OMAFRA along with Swine Innovation Porc, Prairie Swine Centre and Ontario Pork are hosting a Group Sow Housing Seminar in Stratford, Ontario.

Two different seminars will present group sow housing options that follow the 2014 Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs, along with practical solutions to the challenges of different systems, and potential opportunities related to group housing. Day 1 is designed for producers who already have a group housing system in place, and Day 2 is open to anyone interested in learning more about group sow housing.

 

Seminar Program (subject to change without notice)

Day 1: For Producers with Group Housing Systems
4:00 pm              Registration
4:30 pm              Dealing with Aggression and Best Mixing Practices
Dr. Jennifer Brown, Prairie Swine Center, SK
5:15 pm              Capturing Potential Through Nutrition
Quincy Buis, University of Guelph
Dr. Laura Eastwood, OMAFRA
6:00 pm            Dinner
7:10 pm              Technology: Now and in the Future
John Van Engelen, Hog-Tied Farms Ltd.
7:30 pm              Producer Panel
8:30 pm             Closing Remarks, Social

 

Day 2: Open to Everyone

9:00 am              Registration
9:30 am              Welcoming Remarks
9:40 am              The Barn: New Building or Rennovation?
Murray Elliott, FGC Limited
Steve Beadle, P.Eng., OMAFRA
10:30 am           What to do with Sows during Renovation (depop vs. rollover)?
John Otten, South West Vets
11:00 am           Networking Break
11:30 am           National Sow Housing Conversion Project & Breaking the Myths
Dr. Jennifer Brown, Prairie Swine Center, SK
12:30 pm           Lunch
1:30 pm              Feature Speaker – Management: How to make it work
Dr. Julie Ménard, F. Ménard Inc.
2:30 pm              Capturing Potential Through Nutrition
Quincy Buis, University of Guelph
Dr. Laura Eastwood, OMAFRA
3:10 pm              Networking Break
3:40 pm              Technology: Now and in the Future
John Van Engelen, Hog-Tied Farms Ltd.
4:00 pm              2014 Workshop Producer Update – Where they Are Now?
Doug Ahrens, Ham Land Acres
4:15 pm              Producer Panel
5:30 pm              Closing remarks, Social

Registration details will be available late July. For more information please contact:

Laura Eastwood
Swine Specialist, OMAFRA
519-271-6280
laura.eastwood@ontario.ca
Group-Sow-Housing-Seminar-Ontario

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The Swine Expert Network of the OAHN has issued a quarterly report:

OAHN logoOntario Animal Health Network Swine Q4 2015 Producer Report

Highlights

  • OAHN Swine Network Project to investigate weaned pig morbidity and mortality rates, the major causes of morbidity and mortality and to assess therapeutic interventions. Currently enrolling nurseries…
  • Influenza A virus detection is on the rise. News you need to know about this virus
  • *NEW OAHN Swine Network Podcast Series on Influenza A virus. Part I now available: www.oahn.podbean.com 
  • OVC Swine Research Findings on resistance genes & post-weaning anemia with regards to zinc oxide in feed rations
  • Information on how you can stay up to date with OAHN…

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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.

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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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Ontario has seen very few new reports on the PED front in the last months; however, given the virulence of the virus and its increased persistence in cold weather, additional cases might be expected as winter approaches.  Proper biosecurity remains the best tool to prevent the spread of this virus.  Pork producers and industry stakeholders must continue to be diligent in order to limit the impact of PED in Ontario. It’s critical that everyone follow strict biosecurity procedures at all times. These include the following:

  • Ensure all incoming pigs are from a PED negative farm.
  • Follow and enforce proper entry protocols. Dedicated barn boots and coveralls must be available for all staff and visitors. Use a Danish Entry System that allows for unidirectional flow of staff and visitors entering the barn. A hand wash or hand sanitizer should be available upon entry.
  • If using deadstock pickup, ensure carcasses are picked up off-site. Wash and disinfect equipment used to transfer carcasses from barn to deadstock bin.
  • Ensure transporters are following your farm’s protocol for trailer sanitation. A washed and disinfected trailer will reduce the risk of disease transmission to your farm. Refer to ‘Cold Weather Trailer Disinfection Procedures’ available from OPIC. Communicate biosecurity protocols to any service providers visiting your farm.
  • Refer to the National Swine Farm-level Biosecurity Standard and discuss your biosecurity plan with your veterinarian.
  • Monitor your herd for clinical signs of the disease, particularly vomiting and diarrhea. Call your veterinarian immediately with any concerns. They will advise you on what to do next.

Information on PED, including links to biosecurity protocols, and other best practices related to deadstock and manure handling, etc., are available at www.Ontario.ca/swine. You can also subscribe to this blog and follow @ONswineinfo on Twitter for updates and links to resources.

This virus is very persistent and easily travels with snow and slush. It will require a dedicated effort to keep this one under control, and off your farm, over the coming winter.

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The income shown for the market pig in the recently posted October 2014 OMAFRA Swine budget was $244.45, up over $52.00 from the October 2013 Swine Budget. The difference was realized through an increased market pig base price (up $40/ckg, 100 index) and a heavier dressed carcass weight (up 3.54 kg). The increased market hog income along with a decreased farrow to finish feed cost (down $7.83 per market pig) led to a net return improvement of over $60 per market hog from October 2013. For more information see the 2014 October Monthly Swine Budget on the OMAFRA website:

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/swine/facts/info-b-oct2014.pdf

You can subscribe to receive the monthly budgets (and the bimonthly Pork News and Views newsletter) by email here:

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/subscribe/index.html

 

 

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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
Floor
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.

 

Summary

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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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.

Facts:

  • 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:
    • OSHAB ARC&E
    • 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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