A joint project of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and the Iowa State University (ISU) College of Veterinary Medicine has been formed to address porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) disease that has afflicted swine herds for the past 20 years.

IPPA and ISU are proposing to establish a PRRS control project in Iowa County, IA. PRRS has been called the most economically important swine disease today and its impact can cost $5-7 per pig marketed.

Iowa County pork producers learned about the project at an informational meeting held Aug. 3 in Williamsburg, IA.

Iowa County was selected for the project because of its history of being locally active and its mixture of feed-to-finish and farrow-to-finish hog operations. The proposed project area is west and north of Highway 151, to Highway 6 and along Highway 149 as it bisects the county. All sites in the area with commercial pig operations are to be included in the project.

“The information obtained from this program will provide important and new data regarding PRRS virus movement within an area and the impacts of swine movement on that spread,” says James McKean, DVM, ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Such experiences will be valuable to other Iowa producers and perhaps nationally as other PRRS control and elimination programs are developed.”

The Iowa project has four primary objectives:

  1. To demonstrate and develop steps needed to implement a regional PRRS control program;
  2. To study the impact of PRRS virus movement within a prescribed area over time;
  3. To study the impact of pig movement on the PRRS virus into and within the study area; and
  4. To reduce the prevalence of the PRRS virus within the selected area.

ISU will manage a biosecurity risk assessment tool that has been developed that will be offered to all participating producers to better understand the risks associated with PRRS virus movement. Assisting local producers in the local project will be five veterinarians from three area practices.

“This project and the efforts of producers and their veterinarians will help us better understand the PRRS virus and its spread,” says John Weber, IPPA president and a producer from Dysart, IA. “IPPA delegates discussed the prospects for such a PRRS program in January and this project is a result of those discussions.”

Funding for the PRRS control project comes from IPPA and other interested parties.

For more information, contact McKean at (515) 294-8792.