In 1998, when 88% of PIC's owned and contracted multiplication herds were positive for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), the decision was made to wipe out the virus, says Montserrat Torremorell, DVM, director of the PIC Health Assurance program.

Today, PIC's owned and contracted multiplication system has been established PRRS-negative. All genetic nucleus, sire line and dam line nucleus herds are PRRS-negative.

In all, 31 of 32 open herds for commercial sales are PRRS-negative. The one positive herd, in South Dakota, is maintained that way at the request of producer clients, Torremorell explains.

PIC veterinarians used a five-point plan to achieve eradication of the disease in the company's breeding stock, says Torremorell. It included:

  • Elevating health at the nucleus level;

  • Establishing new multiplication systems as PRRS-negative;

  • Producing negative animals from positives;
  • Eliminating the virus where possible, and

  • Communicating results.

    The following strategies were used:

  • Gilt management combined with medicated early weaning (MEW) and batch production;

  • Straight MEW projects from positive sources;

  • Embryo transfer;

  • PRRS elimination by herd closure;

  • Total depopulation/repopulation;

  • New stockings, and

  • Discontinuation of herds from the PIC multiplication system.

With those strategies, 19 herds were populated as PRRS-negative, including nine new multipliers and 10 depopulations/repopulations.