Hot Topics

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV)

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus was first diagnosed in the United States in mid-May 2013. Since then, the virus continues a path of destruction. Read the latest updates from veterinarians, researchers and other animal health experts about how to help prevent and treat this extremely contagious disease.

Legislative Preview

Learn more from a roundup of the latest legislative news that impacts your business. P.Scott Shearer, vice president, Bockorny Group, Inc., provides insight and updates about the many issues that are being debated on the national stage. On behalf of National Hog Farmer readers, Shearer analyzes current legislative issues using perspective he's gained from over 30 years of experience in government and corporate relations in both state and national arenas.

Sow Gestation Stalls

Sow gestation housing is a very hot topic in the U.S. pork industry. National Hog Farmer has been working hard to bring forward research-based information, case studies and real-life experiences from producers who are implementing different sow housing methods.

Porcine Reproductive & Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)

The decades-long battle with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) may not be won, but new analytical models can help develop the best strategy for a herd facing the pesky virus. Increasingly, swine health programs are centered on air filtration, targeted medication and vaccination alternatives, and more rigid biosecurity programs.

Antibiotics

The issue of antibiotic use in swine diets has created a firestorm of controversy in two staunchly opposed camps. The pro-livestock side argues that pork producers avoid the routine use of antibiotics, relying instead on the responsible use of these products to efficiently and safely produce a wholesome product for consumers. The activist camp charges that animal antibiotics are overused simply to produce faster-gaining livestock, causing an alarming growth in antibiotic resistance that threatens the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating human diseases.

Animal Welfare

Pork producers are committed to raising and managing pigs with care in all stages of production. Programs exploring the well-being of animals in modern pork production systems include the many facets of pig health, housing, handling and slaughtering practices. As new knowledge is gained, adjustments will be made for the betterment of the animals.

Feed Costs

Swine diet composition has become more diversified as pork producers and swine nutritionists make adjustments to control feed costs while ensuring efficient growth and reproductive performance. The competition rendered by the burgeoning biofuels industry for the dietary mainstays – corn and soybean meal – will continue to challenge producers as they wring full value from all dietary ingredients, including the byproducts generated by those rivals.

Biosecurity

In recent years, the term biosecurity has expanded to encompass efforts to control both mechanical means of introduction of a disease pathogen, such as from people, pigs and transport vehicles, to aerosol transmission of certain pig viruses. Producers have ramped up efforts to exclude serious disease risks, most notably porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, which can wreak havoc on a producer’s financial stability.

Food Safety

The growing number of food recalls is escalating pressure both in the halls of Washington and throughout the land to come to grips with bacteria that are making people sick. Meanwhile, U.S. food safety officials are struggling with funding for the Food Safety Modernization Act, and new reports that indicate a mere fraction of imported foods are being tested for safety and wholesomeness.

Sow Productivity

As pork producers strive to achieve higher and higher levels of sow reproductive performance, the health and dietary demands on the sow herd becomes increasingly important, the impact on subsequent pig flows is magnified, and the bar to capture full genetic potential is raised.
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