Pig World invited industry leaders to share their personal highs and lows from 2016, while also expressing a pig sector wish for 2017. Today’s contribution is from Geoff Hooper, director of Animal Health company, Hysolv-UK.
PW – What was your pig sector highlight/lowpoint of 2016?
GH – My high and low point comments both relate to Oedema, which is a lethal infectious disease, particularly among young piglets.
It costs British pig producers many thousands of pounds a year, being difficult to diagnose as it can be confused with other clinical signs of disease. In addition, bowel oedema seems to be resurgent in the last few years, with even prominent vets not knowing why.
GH – My highlight on this is that an effective vaccine has been introduced along with a free diagnostic check for this disease, available through the producer’s vet.
The test is simple, conclusive and effective and although many tests turn out to be negative, those that are positive are possible to manage without the use of antibiotics. This is of increasing importance with restrictions in the not-too-distant future. Currently there is heavy use of zinc oxide, an anti-nutrition ingredient, makes the feed quite bitter thus restricting intake and optimal performance.
GH – The lowpoint for me is that the uptake of this free test has been very poor and I would love to know why farmers are not taking up the test.
Is it that farmers just live with levels of loss which could be avoided? This is in weaned pigs, however, so the costs have already been borne. In addition, the uptake by farmers on the Continent has been much greater. Are British pig producers making so much money that they can afford to ignore this?
The benefits are considerable!